Six Ways to Support Refugees Virtually this World Refugee Day

June 20 is World Refugee Day. As an internationally-designated day of the United Nations, World Refugee Day was established as a way for people across the world to show solidarity for refugees and to honor their resilience and determination to find safe haven. By the end of 2018, 70.8 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations (UNHCR).

Since 1975, the U.S. has welcomed more than three million refugees from all over the world (UNHCR). Even though World Refugee Day may look a little bit different this year, here are some ways you can still participate virtually.

1. Find an organization in your community that supports refugees. Consider donating or volunteering with them. If you cannot volunteer in-person, reach out and see if they have any virtual events you can attend. Our Welcoming Network map shows the organizations in your area that are part of our Welcoming Network and support immigrants and refugees, including our international members.

2. Engage with resources. Welcoming America offers several resources and toolkits on how to support and be welcoming to refugees in your community. Additionally, we offer resources you can use to learn about anti-racism and how to be an anti-racist ally – we cannot be truly supportive of refugees and immigrants unless we are also actively anti-racist.

Welcoming America Toolkits:

Anti-Racist Resources:

3. Support refugee-owned businesses and creators. Immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs: 

  • Make up 28% of Main Street business owners
  • Employ one out of every 10 private sector employees
  • Accounted for 48% of overall growth in business ownership
  • Accounted for almost all growth in Main Street businesses in the 50 largest metro areas (2000-2013). 

Consider buying from refugee-owned restaurants and stores or buying products online from refugee-owned businesses. You can also help refugees by promoting refugee-owned businesses on your social media and leaving them positive reviews.

4. Register to vote. Consider voting for local and federal politicians and policies that support refugees and make your community more inclusive and welcoming. Check if your state allows online voter registration and find out whether or not you can mail in your ballot if you are not capable or do not feel comfortable voting in-person. 

5. Put up a sign in your window. A great way to show support for refugees without leaving your house is by putting up a sign in your window emphasizing your support. You can use our multilingual “I’m a Welcomer” signs as a template, but also feel free to get creative. 

6. Use your voice. Consider using your platform, whether that’s through social media or just talking to friends and family, about ways to help refugees individually and the work local organizations are doing to make your community more inclusive. You can use these graphics to highlight your support on social media with the hashtags #WorldRefugeeDay and #WithRefugees.