Today is World Refugee Day and June is immigrant heritage month, a time when we are supposed to be celebrating the 14 percent of America’s population who are immigrants — many of whom came here as refugees — and all they have contributed to the United States’ communities, economy, and vibrant diversity. Yet, this year, the global COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately threatens the survival of vulnerable migrants and displaced persons, especially refugees, and the U.S. is not doing nearly enough to help.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, over 1 percent of the world’s population is now forcibly displaced by war, human rights violations, persecution, climate change, and economic disenfranchisement: nearly 80 million people. The spread of infection among refugees and displaced persons is already occurring, will be fatal, and may prolong and even amplify the effects of both pandemics in ways that will affect us all.
I grew up in Jordan, a small country of ten million people — about a third of whom are refugees. I treat refugee patients from Syria at the Zaatari camp in Jordan, one of the largest refugee camps in the world. I can attest to the limited infrastructure in the camp to deal with the virus, and the infancy of public health science in the country as a whole. However, the response plan in Jordan was a natural continuation of a spirit of welcoming refugees and those who have nowhere else to go. Jordan has shown leadership in addressing the global displacement pandemic, which I believe has contributed directly to the nation’s exemplary control of the coronavirus pandemic. Even though limited access to testing can make infection rates among refugee populations difficult to estimate, Jordan has still reported only nine total deaths from COVID-19 so far.
We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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