Dear Beloved Readers,
Recent days and months have given many pause. These weeks have produced confusion and uncertainty; incited fear and pain; forced us to interrogate our country’s most sacred values; and, left us with many questions.
What and who does the United States stand for? How did we become so divided and how do we overcome that division? What is true and real? What is good, decent, and just? What is legal, constitutional, and democratic? What does it mean to stand on the right side of history and at what cost?
Since Friday, these and many other questions have been raised in response to President Trump’s executive order on immigration.
In our 24-hour-news-cycle-social-media-saturated world, much has been and continues to be said about the order’s intent, its consequences on society, its impact on national security, and what it reflects about the most basic of American values and human rights.
The faces and voices of those who have sought asylum in our country from religious persecution, ethnic genocide and war-torn death sentences are often lost in the static.
The executive order has forced us at Bit & Grain to reconsider the journey of Aya and her family. We met Aya and her mother last year who, after fleeing Syria and completing the years-long refugee vetting process, had finally been resettled in North Carolina. Aya was 11 and suffered from a rare life-threatening disease. When she landed at RDU, she was immediately placed in an ambulance and transported to Duke Hospital for emergency medical treatment. Her arrival in America literally represented a fighting chance for survival. Had Aya arrived this weekend, she would have likely been detained and turned away.
Diversity and religious liberty are cornerstones of our democratic experiment, a process itself built on the backs and ideas of immigrants, some who came here of their own volition, others who were brought by force. Targeting immigrants because of their faith or nationality is fundamentally un-American.
This fall, we sadly learned Aya lost the battle to her disease. We hope that in the short time North Carolina was able to offer her refuge, she felt welcomed and safe in her new home. For her mother and other immigrants seeking refuge in America, we recognize the uncertainty and pain you must feel. We want you to know just as our ancestors before us, you are welcome here too.
— Bit & Grain
February 1, 2017
Story by Sandra Davidson Photography by Baxter Miller