In an effort to raise awareness and show compassion for fleeing Syrian immigrants, the Women’s March San Luis Obispo will be holding a vigil for Syrian refugees Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Mission Plaza downtown, according to a press release from the Women’s March San Luis Obispo.
The Facebook event urges people to “bring signs, Women’s March gear and compassion for those in need.”
“The vigil is really about supporting people, and those people are refugees who are in Syria now and the refugees who are trying to leave Syria,” Women’s March San Luis Obispo member Dawn Addis said. “We’d really like to send the message to our administration that a humanitarian stance is extremely important. That’s why we are encouraging an increase in the numbers of refugees that are allowed to enter the United States.”
There will be several different speakers at the event. Among them will be Riman Alfadel and Mirna Yackoub — local residents who came from Syria — as well as Rev. Rod Richards, minister at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Luis Obispo county, and Lori Barrow, one of the directors of Youth With a Mission Pismo Beach, according to a press release from the Women’s March San San Luis Obispo.
Richards will be the first speaker at the event as someone who can cross cultural and religious lines and just focus on the humanitarian aspect of the event, Addis said.
“Part of having Reverend Rod Richards there is to focus on refugees as people first — people who need our help and support to bring our community together,” Addis said.
Alfadel and Yackoub are both Syrian immigrants who now live in the San Luis Obispo community but are still connected to family in Syria, according to Addis.
“Part of the focus for our vigil is to have different kinds of voices being able to speak to this refugee crisis, because it does cross different religions, it crosses different economic levels and it crosses different backgrounds,” Addis said.
Speaker Barrow spent time volunteering at refugee camps in Greece.
“Really what we’d like on Thursday night is for all people of all genders who feel like they want to come out and stand with Syrian people, to come out and let the people in our community know that we’re here and we want to help,” Addis said.
The local vigil is part of the #WomenforSyria campaign, and is one of many vigils taking place nationally on Thursday.