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Today, I am a senior refugee referral specialist. Until 2006, I was a case manager, and case managers do everything: come to the rent appointment, help them buy food, help them apply for food stamps, social security card, take them to the health center, to their appointment for the doctor, looking for a job. I cannot tell you how many times I was there at the airport [meeting refugees]. From 1990 to 2000, I only had Saturdays and Sundays not at the airport. Every Friday night, I was in the airport. They called me Mr. Midnight.
The roughly 1,500 Afghans who’ve arrived in Atlanta since last fall mark a substantial increase in the metro’s small Afghan population. Familiar comforts are sparse: The only Afghan grocery in the area is Kabul Market off Lawrenceville Highway, known for its freshly baked Afghan bread. Since the beginning of Operation Allies Welcome, Georgia hasn’t been a top destination like Virginia, Texas, or California—but Atlanta itself has been among the top 10 cities for Afghan resettlement, and the only major one in the Southeast. Here is the story of how one family is building a life here.
Fugees Family founder Luma Mufleh on breaking barriers, discrimination, and what’s next for her refugee nonprofit
Fugees Family founder Luma Mufleh recently earned a DVF Award, a program created by designer Diane von Furstenberg to celebrate "extraordinary women." She chats with us about the award, discrimination against refugees, and what's next for her nonprofit.
He Ro arrived in Clarkston as a shy 15-year-old who had spent much of his life in a Karen refugee camp in Thailand after fleeing Burma as a child. Now a 24-year-old oyster shucker at Kimball House, the people at the restaurant have all become his friends. “They all love me."
Owners Kitti and Bill Murray purchased a 1960s service station at 4170 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, where they plan to build a kitchen and expand the food offerings of Refuge, their coffee shop that provides jobs and job training to refugees in Clarkston.
Khaled is choking. Khaled, who is alive because he hid under his desk when the men came with their guns, whose family is alive because he convinced them to walk out the front door of their Damascus home while it still stood (and keep walking until they found a way to Jordan).
In the wake of controversy over President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, Mayor Kasim Reed has declined to declare Atlanta a “sanctuary city,” calling it instead a “welcoming city.” It’s a distinction that ultimately may not matter—either to immigrants or to the Trump administration.
Downtown Clarkston in DeKalb County extends westward from Rowland Street to Indian Creek Drive, with the old Georgia Railroad line running in between—a total of just three city blocks, give or take. And yet there may be no place in the country as kaleidoscopically, vibrantly, viscerally diverse.
In the end, it had taken almost two years for Amin’s application to the United Nations for refugee status to be approved, during which time Aleppo had collapsed, family members died, and Amin forced himself not to surrender hope.
To refugees fleeing oppression, civil war, famine, and discrimination, Atlanta represents not just hope, but survival. And within the metro area, no place has been more welcoming than the city of Clarkston, which sits halfway between Decatur and Stone Mountain.
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