Charleston joins ‘Welcome.US’ coalition to help resettle Afghan refugees

Charleston County News

FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2021, file photo provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, families walk towards their flight during ongoing evacuations at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan. More than 30 California children are stuck in Afghanistan after traveling to the country to see their relatives weeks before the Taliban seized power and US forces left, according to school districts where the kids are enrolled. (Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/U.S. Marine Corps via AP, File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A bipartisan coalition on Tuesday launched Welcome.US, “a national effort to welcome refugees, starting with Afghan families.”

The organization — co-chaired by former Presidents and First Ladies Obama, Bush, and Clinton — identifies a variety of resources for resettling families.

Charleston is among the list of states and cities that has committed to welcoming refugees.

Welcome.US attributed the following statement to Mayor John Tecklenburg:

“I know I speak on behalf of our citizens here in Charleston when I say, we’re honored to stand with the brave Afghan men and women who risked their lives to stand with America during our longest war. We welcome these friends with open arms, and seek to offer them a place of safety and fellowship as they set out to build new lives in a new land.”

Columbia was also listed as a Welcome City, with Mayor Steve Benjamin saying in part “as [Afghan refugees] have undertaken a courageous effort to reach our shores, I am honored to join the coalition of US mayors as well as resettlement agencies, members of our faith communities, human and civil rights organizations, veterans and local businesses to form the big tent community they can now think of as their home.”

According to Welcome.US, the effort brings together “local non-profits, Afghan-American leaders, former refugees, businesses, and resettlement agencies all over the country… to create a single point of entry for all Americans who want to help support our new Afghan neighbors.”

In addition to providing refugees with access to resources, Welcome.US provides members of the public with ways to assist the resettlement effort. The website identifies a variety of ways for people to contribute by donating time or resources and sponsoring families.

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