On this World Refugee Day and every day, RISE AmeriCorps members from refugee backgrounds are using their perspectives to meet needs and create change within their communities.
Sixty-eight percent of RISE AmeriCorps members come from an immigrant and refugee background and about a quarter of current members are refugees themselves. Refugee members fill important gaps while representing diverse communities from Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Eritrea.
In 2022, RISE AmeriCorps Members are advancing opportunities and building self-sufficiency for fellow refugees with training in job skills, digital literacy, English skills and more. At EMBARC in Des Moines for example, RISE AmeriCorps Member Pray Meh is leading a class to prepare other Karenni refugees from Burma for the U.S. citizenship test.
From collage to photography to acrylic paint portraits, ArtForce Iowa and RISE AmeriCorps members are showcasing their talents while also lifting up the refugee youth they serve.
ArtForce Iowa’s series of exhibits, “#KNOWJUSTICE”, highlights immigrant and refugee voices and the power of storytelling. In May, #KNOWJUSTICE:The Collective centered on themes of coming together. The virtual exhibit, displaying art by youth, RISE AmeriCorps members and the community, is available here:
In-person exhibits continue on the first Friday of each month, featuring an individual artist’s collection of works. On July 1, RISE AmeriCorps Member December Paw will be showing her art at Mainframe Studios in Des Moines from 5-8 p.m.