Statement on the Killing of George Floyd

It has been a painful and tumultuous week for our country and communities. Like many across the nation and around the world, we at Refugee Congress are heartbroken and outraged by the preventable and tragic death of George Floyd.

We stand together with communities and families to condemn Floyd’s killing and the needless deaths of other Black Americans. Our thoughts are with Floyd’s family. These deaths remind us of the deeply rooted system of racial inequity, violence and injustice in this country.

As former refugees and asylum-seekers, we are survivors of war and genocide, and we know the devastating impacts of injustice and hate. We came to this country fleeing violence and persecution, seeking a safe haven to build our lives, raise our families, pursue our dreams and become contributing members of our communities. We are devastated to see senseless racist violence in our new home, and we worry for ourselves, our families, and our communities.

We call on everyone to stand against racial injustice and violence. We must find a path out of the structural racism that is endemic to our institutions, and build a safer and more just future for the next generation. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that we are all interconnected and interdependent. We must use this time to come together, embrace our communities and work to build a better future. Refugee Congress stands ready and willing. Let’s work together to fight against discrimination and for justice.

“As a Black mother in America, who’s also a former refugee, I am sad, upset and grieving with all the Black mothers who lost their children to the cold hands of police brutality. I worry now more than ever for my Black husband, and the Black young man we are raising, who is still processing his transition from Liberia to America. I also fear for the beautiful Black princess that I am raising and pray daily that her dad and older brother make it back home safely each day.” –Lourena Gboeah, Refugee Congress Board Chair and Delegate (Delaware)


“As a former refugee and a survivor of war, genocide and persecution, I am grateful that America gave me a chance to live and serve. The racial inequities and social injustices in this country are heartbreaking. Witnessing the torture of Mr. Floyd and many other African American men revives my trauma and makes me worry about the future of my children and the whole country. I am sending love and peace to all families facing discrimination and racism and praying God to heal, protect and bless America. I call upon all leaders at all levels to initiate tough conversations and pursue radical and immediate change. I am hoping for peaceful protests and ready to participate in any longer table  discussion — starting from my own family.” –Drocella Mugorewera, Refugee Congress Board Member and Delegate (Tennessee)


“As a former refugee from Iraq who fled violence and injustice, I denounce the injustice against our Black brothers and sisters. Rising against racism should not be labeled as a riot. Killings of innocent Black Americans should never be condoned in any circumstances. #BlackLivesMatter” –Basma Alawee, Refugee Congress Delegate (Florida)


“White Americans must move from fake social justice outcry to consciously looking at themselves and determining what they will do to be more active participants in creating long and lasting equality for African Americans and Native Communities” –Fartun Weli, Refugee Congress Delegate (Minnesota)




“The presence of refugees and immigrants in the USA is due to the Civil Rights Movement which created the foundation for the Immigration and Nationality act of 1965. Therefore aa a refugee I am in debt to the Black community.”  –Dr. Heval Kelli, Refugee Congress Delegate (Georgia)




“As a former refugee and father of four young children, I was deeply terrified to see the murder of an unarmed young Black American, and it was reminiscent of the military brutality that caused my family and me to become refugees in a neighboring country.” –Joe Sackor, Refugee Congress Delegate (Pennsylvania)




“As a former refugee who fled persecution from her native country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I denounce the inequality and injustice that our Black brothers and sisters are facing.  We stand in solidarity with you and demand the dismantling of institutionalized racism NOW.” –Nejra Sumic, Refugee Congress Delegate (Arizona)




“My freedom is contingent upon your freedom. My rights are conditional to your rights. As a refugee, I stand with our Black community. Together we can impact change.” –Nga Vương-Sandoval, Refugee Congress Delegate (Colorado)




“I urge refugees and immigrants/New Americans to join the fight against racial injustice and inequality. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Refugee Act of 1980 are a few examples that benefited all of us, so now is the best time and place to be for the change we want to see for generations to come.” –Som Nath Subedi, Honorary Refugee Congress Delegate (Oregon)


“When I got to the U.S. in 2012, I came to Idaho — place I had heard about less than 24 hours before I arrived. I didn’t expect its snowy winters or hot summers, but since then, it has been a place that I call home and a community where I belong. One of the things that I enjoy the most about this country is the law; I love the traffic rules, freedom of expression and various protections for workers’ rights. However, I also see school killings, racially motivated attacks and unjust police murders of African Americans. My heart is heavily pounding when I start thinking about George Floyd’s murder. I would like to share a poem I wrote after the shocking shooting of the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Hotel because it may have some meaning at this moment, too.” —Tecle Gebremicheal, Delegate (Idaho)

The following undersigned:

Lourena Gboeah, Board Chair and Delegate (Delaware)

Dauda Sesay, Board Vice Chair and Delegate (Louisiana)

Biar Atem, Board Treasurer and Delegate (Nevada)

Carmen G. Kcomt, Board Secretary and Delegate (California)

Drocella Mugorewera, Board Member and Delegate (Tennessee)

Fatima Dirie, Board Member and Delegate (Utah)

Karna B Gurung, Board Member and Delegate (Nebraska)

Valerie Bahige, Board Member and Delegate (Wyoming)

Alexis Niyonkuru, Delegate (Texas)

Ally Ntumba, Delegate (Indiana)

Amer Swedeh, Delegate (Illinois)

Basma Alawee, Delegate (Florida)

Clara Hart, Delegate (South Dakota)

Dr. Heval Kelli, Delegate (Georgia)

Ekhlas Ismail Ahmed, Delegate (Maine)

Esmail Dezhbod, Delegate (Connecticut)

Farjam Behnam, Delegate (Virginia)

Fartun Weli, Delegate (Minnesota)

George Tarr, Delegate (New York)

Habiyambere Sunzu Steve, Delegate (Alabama)

Isabel Kayembe, Delegate (Rhode Island)

Jean Claude Safari Bahanuzi, Delegate (Illinois)

Jessi Calzado Esponda, Delegate (District of Columbia)

Jihan Daman, Delegate (Michigan)

Joseph Sackor, Delegate (Pennsylvania)

Julia Ostropolsky, Delegate (Missouri)

Kalisa Ndikumbwimana, Delegate (North Dakota)

Kamal Dhimal, Delegate (North Carolina)

Linda Kana, Delegate (Kentucky)

Majidi Shabani, Delegate (Arkansas)

Martin Ndayisenga, Delegate (New Mexico)

Maryam Naziri, Delegate (New Jersey)

Mursal Naleye, Delegate (Kansas)

Natasa Torbica, Delegate (Wisconsin)

Nejra Sumic, Delegate (Arizona)

Nga Vuong-Sandoval, Delegate (Colorado)

Norah Bagirinka, Delegate (Ohio)

Som Nath Subedi, Honorary Delegate (Oregon)

 Suraj Budathoki, Delegate (New Hampshire)

Tecle Gebremicheal, Delegate (Idaho)

Teklit Michael, Delegate (Maryland)

Valdir Solera Junior, Delegate (Hawaii)

Zeljka Krvavica, Delegate (Iowa)



Refugee Congress is a nonpartisan national advocacy organization built and led by former refugees, asylum-seekers and other vulnerable migrants to promote the well-being, integration and dignity of all vulnerable migrants. With delegates across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, we use our voices and experiences to inform and influence decision-makers on critical domestic and international issues that affect our communities.