Please consider a gift to Detroit’s Freedom House

freedomhouse1bI don’t usually grab posts wholesale from other sites and reprint them here, but I just read this on my friend Pete’s site and thought that it deserved to reach a wider audience.

Freedom House, a small former convent located just under the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit has been providing food, shelter, and support for asylum seekers for more than 30 years. Most that walk through its doors do not speak English, have been forcibly separated from their friends and families, have been beaten, tortured and endured just about every type of injustice that one can speak of.

Residents come from Rwanda, Libya, Cameroon, Russia and elsewhere. They arrive dazed, malnourished, often sick, and suffering from post traumatic stress.

To obtain asylum in the United States, a refugee must prove that he or she is truly deserving of asylum, a difficult task. Oppressive political bodies don’t usually provide certificates of torture. Given that asylum seekers cannot legally work during their application period, Freedom House offers a place to stay.

In the past, Freedom House has offered English lessons, employed a staff of approximately 10 and provided legal support for all who seek help. They can boast that they’ve never lost a legal bid for political asylum in the United States.

Now, with the loss of a major grant, it looks like this beacon of the American way will have to close. In a present day climate that continually denigrates immigrants, the poor and those that don’t follow the same religious path as those guys in suits in Washington, it’s doubtful that an institution like Freedom House can drum up much support in the state or federal legislatures. Degorah Drennan, who runs Freedom House, has reported that she has had to lay off nearly her entire staff and is relying on volunteers to maintain daily operations.

Thus, they are appealing for help from private citizens. Even just $25 will go to feed all the people staying at Freedom House for a day. $75 can get a bus bass for a resident. $250 can a refugee a driver training and a license.

They will surely take more, and they will surely take less.

Freedom House is what America is supposed to be about and it’s depressing that our governmental bodies have let them down. Appealing for $10 and $25 donations individuals for a little known but vastly important cause is not a solution. It’s a temporary fix, but any help would be appreciated.

You can donate here.

So, if you’re doing your taxes tonight, and realize that, in spite of the current economy, you’ve got a few dollars to spare, I’m sure they would be appreciated. It may just be a few dollars to you, but it could make all the difference in the world to someone fleeing an oppressive regime, who dreams of one day becoming an American citizen.

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  1. Posted April 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    So, did any of you know about this place before this post? I’m just curious.

  2. Posted April 14, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I had heard of it. Most people have not, which is a crime to me. It really isn’t surprising at all, though.

    Freedom House is really one of the best things that Detroit has going for it. We need more of this kind of thing.

    If people haven’t heard of it, they should. And should give to help them out. They do great work.

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