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SAN ANTONIO (September 10, 2021) – The City of San Antonio and community partners have launched a website – Afghansinsa.org – that provides necessary information on how to assist Afghan evacuees arriving in San Antonio.
The website will provide a clearinghouse of information for those who want to assist Afghan evacuees and members of the local Afghan community who will be assisting them upon arrival in San Antonio, where they will establish new lives. The City's Faith-Based Liaison, Rev. Ann Helmke, and the Immigration Liaison, Tino Gallegos, together with several community partners including Wyndee Holbrooke of Interfaith San Antonio Alliance, Damaris Cavazos Fike of City Church, and Bill Neely of SACRD.org, launched Afghansinsa.org.
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"San Antonio is a compassionate city, and we welcome people the way we would want to be welcomed if the tables were turned," Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. "San Antonio is preparing to receive our new Afghan neighbors the way we always prepare – by working together. We have sound and ready refugee service organizations through RAICES, the Center for Refugee Services, and Catholic Charities. With those and as always, there are congregations of faith and nonprofits stepping up to support those services. A centralized website has been developed to specific lists of needs, volunteer opportunities, resources for Afghans – and perhaps most importantly, a community sponsorship program to help our new neighbors make their home here – to become new San Antonians."
City Manager Erik Walsh said, "The City of San Antonio steps up to provide compassionate support for all who pass through our community. I want to thank the nonprofit and community partners who have joined us to aid those in need, many of whom have lost everything. It was the right thing to do during the migrant surge in 2019 and it's the right thing to do now as Afghans seek asylum here."
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San Antonio community members took the initiative and pro-actively approached the three refugee-serving organizations in San Antonio. They asked the refugee-support organizations how the community can help the Afghan evacuees and created a process to collect and share that information to meet those needs and support the evacuees. The launch was highlighted during Welcoming Week 2021 as the embodiment of the 2021 theme, Belonging Begins with Us.
"San Antonio's faith community is eagerly coming together and creating a strong network to welcome our newly arriving Afghan neighbors," said Rev. Wyndee Holbrook, Executive Director, Interfaith San Antonio Alliance. "We are a city woven of the threads of many people and faith traditions, all of whom are sacred. The eagerness to serve exhibited by so many diverse people is evidence of the compassionate heart of our beloved city. As community sponsors, we seek to walk alongside these precious families to simply steady their steps on this difficult journey. Congregations, organizations, and individuals are welcome to join the movement of "Belonging begins with US" by going to AfghansinSA.org."
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