GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Several groups which help Greensboro feel like home for refugees and immigrants wanted this year’s MultiCultural Thanksgiving dinner to be something special for Syrian refugees.
It turned out to be special in size but absent of many guests of honor.
Close to 200 people packed into the Mullin Life Center at First Presbyterian Church for the annual pot luck dinner to honor Thanksgiving. Leaders with FaithAction International Group, Church World Services and other support groups started the dinner off with speeches to show support for Syrian refugees.
“Greensboro continues to be an ideal place for refugees and locals to call home and I hope to ensure that stays true,” said City Councilwoman Marikay Abuzuaiter.
Many speakers decried Gov. Pat McCrory’s stance last week to urge the state department from sending refugees from Syria to North Carolina.
Zane Kuseybi, a Syrian-American who has helped Syrian refugees since war began in the country four years ago, said calling refugees terrorists isn’t fair.
“We’re not afraid of ourselves, we're afraid of what the American people think of us,” said Kuseybi. “These are wonderful people. They are people that have done everything right in their lives.”
Kuseybi said since the displacement of 11 million Syrians a little more than 2,200 refugees have come to America.
“Not one death has been caused by a Syrian refugee,” said Kuseybi. “There has not been one person charged with terrorism since arriving.”
No recent arrivals made it to the community dinner or wanted to speak with the media about the show of support, but many people who did attend said the national spotlight on Syrian refugees was a motivating factor.
“The sentiment was so negative about the immigrants coming from Syria that we thought it was really important that we get out and show people that they should support these immigrants, they have been a great addition to our community,” said Bert Fields, a FaithAction Network volunteer.