Page 4 • Williston Observer • September 19, 2019
Respect without borders We all move. Some are moving over the U.S. border. Some are moving within detention camps. Some are moving toward the border to offer help. Some of us move with our feet, some of us with our pens and some of us do not know how to move in the face of so much injustice. Although we all come from different places, we are all part of the same world — a world that is home to both beauty and suffering. Refugee Outreach Club believes that wherever and whoever you are, you can join our movement for refugee and immigrant rights. And you can help move us forward. Refugee Outreach Club began as an effort to connect young adults of different backgrounds through service, whether between
Vermont students and local refugee communities, or overseas in Ghana, where students worked in a global health context. Founded by a Vermont student, Natalie Meyer, in 2015, ROC has sponsored fundraisers, community outreach events and multiple student trips abroad. With club chapters active in seven Vermont high schools and two Vermont colleges, ROC has begun to build a community of young people seeking to support each other. As this month, changes have begun within the organization. Following shifts in the organization’s leadership, ROC has a new and exciting mission: We are working to become a student-led movement for refugee and immigrant rights, moving toward equity, justice and respect for all people, regardless
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of borders. As we grow into our new mission, we aim to contribute to the movement for migrant justice in the United States and abroad by training and inspiring young leaders, educating our communities and working to support and advocate for migrants. We will do this work guided by our organizational values, which can be found in detail on our website www.refugeeoutreachclub.org. These values emphasize inclusivity, responsibility and authentic activism and will be the backbone of ROC. Like the Black Lives Matter movement, ROC knows the movement for migrant justice in the United States to be a leaderful movement, not a leaderless one. Thus, we aim to contribute student leaders to the movement through creating and fostering opportunities for students to start ROC clubs at their schools, creating their own groups to advocate for migrant justice in their communities. Student groups work to educate their communities, fundraise for ROC programs, volunteer and connect with migrant students in their local communities, and work to become effective political and social advocates for justice, equity and respect for all people. In the future, ROC is working toward organizing volunteer trips to the United States southern border for students to work with organizations providing aid to migrants there. These changes are being implemented across the organization by ROC’s team members, including Lili Platt, the founder of the Harwood High School ROC chapter and ROC’s program director, who works to coordinate our existing student groups. ROC is also forming a new board of directors made up of activists, leaders and professionals
Observer file photo
Williston native Olivia Pintair has been named executive director of the Refugee Outreach Club.
committed to justice for migrants. In large part, these changes have been spearheaded by ROC’s new executive director, Olivia Pintair, a native of Williston. Pintair is a student at Middlebury College and founder of Running for Refuge, a project that fundraises for other organizations supporting refugees and immigrants through hosting running events, which has recently become a program of ROC. Her commitment to supporting migrants grew in part from her childhood, when she often listened to her grandparents’ stories about their escapes from Hungary as refugees in the 1950s. Pintair is committed to see BORDERS page 5
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