Religion And Refugees Are Deeply Jewish Entwined

Robert Bowers was furious at what he believed was a Jewish plot for more refugees and asylum seekers in the U.S., before allegedly killing 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.

Bowers claimed that HIAS (a prominent Jewish humanitarian organisation) was bringing migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras northward in order to commit violence. This was false. It is true, however, that many U.S. religious communities, including American Jews have supported asylum-seeking migrants and refugees who have arrived in the U.S. for decades.

My research into the non-profits that help these refugees and immigrants revealed that, while religious communities continue to do this work through faith based nonprofits, there are signs suggesting that some white Christians don’t support this mission.

Support Refugees Through Religious Advocacy Jewish

Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all hold the idea of welcoming strangers as a central principle. This idea originate in cultures that were born in deserts, where it was consider a death sentence to leave someone outside of the city gates. Many religious leaders from these faiths link that ethic with a responsibility for protecting refugees and other migrants from violence and oppression.

Faith communities made appeals to the U.S. government for help in welcoming Jews fleeing persecution, beginning in the late 19th Century. They advocate for Armenians to be allow to immigrate to America, after they were massacre by the Ottoman Empire’s leaders.

After World War II, a coalition of Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish organizations finally convinced policymakers to adopt a more humanitarian-focused U.S. foreign strategy. The U.S. joined other countries to sign the 1951 Geneva Convention. This U.N. agreement established legal protection for refugees.

One of the main principles of the convention is to ban refugees from returning to unsafe countries. Sometimes, this means that refugees must be resettle in a safer country. Since then, faith-based organizations have partnered with the U.S. government.

The Sanctuary Movement Jewish

Between 1951 and 1980 the U.S. government resettled refugees on an ad-hoc basis, without investing much in aid. Faith-based organizations helped refugees get off to a great start in America during this period.

Asylum seekers were also support by religious groups. They are people who arrive seeking refugee status but need protection. Nearly 1 million Central Americans sought asylum at the U.S. borders between 1980 and 1991. The government denied almost all of their petitions from the beginning.

Many Jewish and Christian leaders supported these migrants. They gave sermons and organized protests to demand protection for Central American asylum seekers. Many religious communities offered sanctuary in their houses of worship and legal support to Central Americans asylum seekers.

The Center for Constitutional Rights sued federal government in 1985 on behalf of the American Baptist Church USA, Presbyterian Church USA and the Unitarian Universalist Association. They also sued four other religious organisations, including the United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Church. They claimed discrimination against Salvadoran asylum seekers. The class action lawsuit was eventually settle by the government.

Today’s Refugee Needs Are Being Met By Faith-Based Non-Profits

Since Congress passed the 1980 Refugee Act that created the current refugee resettlement system, U.S. faith-based organisations have played an important role.

Nine national voluntary agencies work directly with government. Six of these are faith-based. One is Jewish, one Catholic and one evangelical Christian, while three are mainline Protestant. These groups help refugees find housing, jobs, and enroll in English classes. This is regardless of whether the refugees are of the same religion or origin.

My research has shown that faith-based staff often use religious rhetoric to justify their work or to explain their commitment to their work.

Religiously-based refugee organisations also use interfaith language to frame their efforts. As they gather and disburse money, household goods and volunteers, they invoke the ethical imperative of providing asylum and refuge.

My experience with faith-based organizations revealed that their staff use religious. Rhetoric in ways that are inclusive of refugees from other religions.

The Jewish dimension is helping people understand that America is a country that welcomes everyone and helping people who have come from a land that maybe sometimes was considered to be worse than dirt. A director at a local office HIAS, formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, explained to me. Do we apply the same principles to other communities we serve? Yes.

That sentiment was echoed by the director of Catholic Charities. He said, We have a saying. We don’t help people because they are Catholic. We help them because we are.

This movement is support by most Americans. These non profits can also create interfaith networks to support refugees and asylum seekers. This charitable work also done by secular groups.

Monitor How Human Activities Affect Life In Rivers

Although rivers, lakes, and wetlands only make up 1% of the Earth’s total surface, they are home to almost 10% of all species. This includes fish, birds, insects, and crustaceans. These rich and diverse ecosystems are experiencing a free fall. The world’s species are rapidly declining, and fresh water is losing more species per year than either land or ocean ecosystems.

About 1 in 4 freshwater animals are at risk of extinction today. Three times faster than forests, wetlands are disappearing. Water quality across the globe is declining. It is being polluted by plastics, sewage, mining waste, industrial chemicals, and many other substances.

It is difficult to understand how these stresses affect aquatic life. River networks can be affected by many different threats. They also cover large geographic areas. They often run through remote and almost inaccessible areas. Monitoring freshwater species is labor-intensive and expensive.

As ecologists, we are currently testing a new method to expand biomonitoring. We use environmental DNA (or eDNA) in rivers to count and catalog species. This data is needed by federal and local agencies to restore water quality and protect endangered species.

Traditional Rivers Methods Can Be Slow And Costly

Traditional biomonitoring methods allow scientists to count species and determine their abundance at a small number of sites. A recent West Virginia study on mountaintop mining and fish impacts on fish found in West Virginia included just four sites, with four researchers.

Highly skilled taxonomists and ecologists are required to identify and collect aquatic organisms. They must have expertise in a variety of freshwater species. It takes several hours to identify every species from each field sample of fish and invertebrates. This is a costly procedure that only the most wealthy countries can afford.

Monitoring large areas and over time is essential for conserving endangered species and maintaining healthy river ecosystems. The freshwater equivalent to a canary in a coalmine is the sensitive aquatic insects and fish species. If they are absent, it’s an indicator of water quality issues. It could be due to mining, agriculture, urbanization, or any other source. Dams that prevent animals from moving downstream may also be a factor.

Free-Floating Genetic Evidence

We are currently testing a new, powerful and affordable tool created by genetic technology. This involves extracting eDNA out of genetic material that is floating in water skin and scales as well as single-celled organisms such bacteria.

This genetic information can be use to identify a variety of species. After several studies that demonstrated the ability to monitor specific species or groups of organisms in rivers, and oceans, we began considering eDNA as a research tool.

It is simple to collect eDNA: A 4-ounce water sample can be enough to capture DNA fragments from thousands of aquatic species. It doesn’t require the killing of wildlife to identify.

We analyze DNA from various taxonomic groups in the lab: bacteria, algae and fish. While many researchers only focus on one group of organisms, we evaluate all of them simultaneously.

Then, we match our DNA sequences to freshwater species already cataloged in existing databases. This allows us to chart the distribution and abundance these organisms in and around rivers.

The only equipment required is a filter, vials and a syringe. Extracting and sequencing a sample done by commercial eDNA companies for less than $200.

Rivers Altered

This method allowed us to extensively survey 93 rivers in West Virginia, looking at every branch of life from bacteria to fish, in just two days. We did this with a team of four people.

We find that the Appalachian rivers are alive with life. These rivers are home to some of the most diverse freshwater ecosystems in the world, including many species of fish, salamanders and crayfish as well as mussels, salamanders and other aquatic insects. Many species not found anywhere else. In those 93 waterways, we spotted more than 10,000 species.

Our work area is a heavily coal-mining region. This has a significant impact on waterways. Although the liquids that drain from mines tend to be acidic, they react with limestone rocks in this area, making local streams alkaline. The salinity of streams and the concentrations and other contaminants in them also increase due to mine drainage. Our research showed that watersheds with mining operations had 40% less species than those without, and that the organisms found in mined watersheds were also less common than those found in unaffected rivers.

Assessing Rivers Health

This new approach is revolutionary in biomonitoring. It expands our ability to study and quantify freshwater life. It is also a valuable conservation tool that allows scientists to monitor changes in the populations of endangered and invasive species. Researchers can also use eDNA for monitoring biodiversity and discovering new species in soils and oceans.

Open-science makes all DNA data freely available. Nearly all sequences are place in public repositories. We expect it to be a tool for many types of research and state and local monitoring and conservation programs. It will be more efficient if it is use to collect eDNA, identify organisms, and analyze their genetic signatures.

There are efforts underway to target individual species more effectively. This includes species that are threaten or invasive, species that can harm ecosystems, and species that are sensitive indicators of river health. In the hope that technological advancements will yield more information, scientists are freezing eDNA samples at -112°F (-80 C).

While traditional monitoring methods are still valuable, eDNA is an important addition to the toolkit. These approaches together can help answer many questions about food webs and species conservation, reproduction rates, species interactions, health of organisms, and disease.

How Far Has The Movement Come Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter is the most significant civil movement in American history. Local BLM chapters have been form across the country since 2013 to demand. That police and other officers held accountable for the deaths of numerous African Americans. The movement has gained new prominence, funding, and scrutiny since the summer 2020, when thousands marched in protest of George Floyd’s death by a Minneapolis police officer.

BLM has been long consider a decentralize, coordinate effort. The movement and its leaders have become more traditional and more hierarchical over the years. BLM chapters are calling for more accountability from the movement’s leaders. Two scholars from worldwide African cultures and communities, Kwasi Konadu (left) and Bright Gyamfi (right), joined us to discuss BLM as a movement and organization.

What Was The Original Structure For Black Lives Matter?

Black Lives Matter found in 2013 as a message campaign. Three activists OpalTometi, Alicia Garza, and PatrisseCullors protested George Zimmerman’s 2012 acquittal for killing Trayvon Martin as a Black teenager. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was create by Cullors and gain widespread popularity on social media as well as in street protests.

The Black Lives Matter hashtags, signs, and flags became increasingly common in protests for Black lives. This messaging campaign evolved into a social movement that demanded accountability for the police brutality and killings of Black people.

Although the movement not centralized, there some notable, formal BLM-relate organisations that emerge in this period. Cullors and Tometi created the Black Lives Matter Network in 2013. This network was establish to help the many Black Lives Matter chapters, which being organize locally, share resources and provide support.

The Movement for Black Lives (or M4BL) was formed in 2014 as an independent, but relate, coalition of dozens if not all Black activist organizations, such as the Black Lives Matter Network. The Black Lives Matter Network was transform into the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation in 2017. It was co-found and directed by Tometi, Cullors, until her resignation in May 2021. The group is describe as a global foundation supporting Black-led movements.

What Has Changed In The Structure Of Black Lives Matter Since Then?

Although the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation claims it is decentralized in its operations, it has been operating in a similar fashion to other social movements that are driven by individuals or organizations. It has evolved into a more traditional hierarchical organization with centralized operations and leadership. Its founders have received awards, book deals, and public notoriety.

BLM Global Network Foundation does not have a publicly available source of funding. It also has never relied solely on individual donations or grassroots support. It is therefore dependent on foundation and corporate money to fund its programs and operations. The BLM Global Network Foundation received grants or donations of approximately US$90 million from foundations and corporations during the George Floyd uprisings.

The Movement for Black Lives (which calls itself anti-capitalist and decentralized) also raised millions in 2020. This included $100 million from Ford Foundation. In total, companies pledged nearly $2 billion to BLM-related causes for 2020. However, less information is available about pledges for 2021.

Many frontline Black Lives Matters chapters are struggling to keep their feet on the ground. Some chapters have called for greater financial transparency, more democratic decision-making by national leaders at BLM Global Network Foundation, and a share of funds raised by national groups.

Others have disavowed Black Lives Matter Network, and decamped from it. They now focus on community fundraising and organizing to support them work.

What Is The Public’s Opinion On The BLM Movement And How Has It Changed?

Although the expression Black Lives Matter is a familiar phrase, it is experiencing a decline in public support. A new Civiqs survey of 244,622 voters found that support for BLM dropped from two-thirds in June 2020, to half in June 2021. This shift could be partly due to increasing public awareness about the movement’s internal struggles such as competing visions, competition over scarce resources, and questions about whether certain BLM leaders have used donations to their own benefit.

This evolution of Black Lives Matters is it typical of social movements. Do you have other examples? Conflicts and tensions are part of all social movements, even BLM. Peoples of African descent have to face a unique challenge when they try to raise funds and take action from the same corporate and white power structures that profit from the suffering of Black people. For instance, President Lyndon B. Johnson is best remembered for his 1964 Civil Rights Act passage, but he frequently referred to the 1957 version as the nigger Bill when he spoke with Southern white supremacists.

McDonald’s Corporation Part

McDonald’s Corp is another example. Corporation partnered with U.S. civil right organizations in 1968 after Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. McDonald’s claimed that its African American-owned franchises were following King’s civil rights agenda in order to empower the Black community.

Marcia Chatelain, historian, says that instead of enabling economic freedom McDonald’s has placed a burden on the Black community by paying low wages, limiting franchises, and causing high rates of obesity and diabetes. McDonald’s has enjoyed a loyal African American customer base. This is more because African Americans eat more fast food than any other race according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is not new to have money influence social movements such as the civil right movement. White liberal foundations and organizations funded the civil rights movement, which included the 1963 March on Washington. Similar funding was also provided by foundations and white liberal organizations to BLM protests in the summer 2020. The Ford Foundation and Borealis Philanthropy have recently created the Black-Led Movement Fund. This fund raises money for Movement for Black Lives.

Malcolm X’s analysis of the 1963 March on Washington brought to light the influence that white philanthropy had over “black” social injustice organizations. This was especially true when it came to funding. James Baldwin agreed with Malcolm’s analysis and said that the March had been co-opt

Does It Make Any Sense To You What Structure Black Lives Matter

Based on research on civil rights-Black power organisations and Black internationalism, we believe that BLM would benefit greatly from a starfish organizational structure. Starfish-like organizations are distributed networks without a head. Intelligence is distributed throughout an open system that adapts to changing circumstances. The network is not affected if a leader is ousted.

The U.S. BLM organizers are divided into different groups but all are linked to the Movement for Black Lives coalition. This is a spider analogy. Spiderlike organizations are similar to starfish structures. Information and power are concentrated at their top, while they operate under the direction of a central leader. [You are smart and curious about the world. The Conversation’s editors and authors are the same. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest news and updates.

Many Republican-led states drafted a new set of anti-protest laws in response to the 2020 protests against racism following George Floyd’s death. This suggests that BLM could be more resilient if they adopted the starfish approach. Black Lives Matter leaders want to appeal to a diverse audience to end white supremacy. However, they fail to recognize that widespread anti-Black violence is the “engine that powers” white supremacy. This makes it difficult for broad coalitions to be effective.