Local group wants to help Syrian refugees

Ted Land reports

Dozens of people gathered at the University of Washington on Saturday to talk about ways to help Syrian refugees, who are suffering through a deepening crisis this week.

"We're seeing people, for the first time a lot of people, saying, 'oh, something is happening in Syria,'" said Sus Shawhan, who attended the event.

They could send money, but many people in the room want the U.S. to expedite the process of giving refugees asylum here. That process can take years.

"The bureaucratic red tape, the kind of excuses that are being used all around the world, we can't talk like that when it's about human life," said Shawhan.

A letter-writing campaign to Washington's congressional delegation is a first step. They want the state's elected officials to make it clear that the federal government should do more to address the crisis.

Hussein Ali, a Syrian-American who lives in Lynwood, created the event on Facebook after seeing the painful images of a boy who drowned while his family was fleeing the conflict.

"People started seeing this as a real crisis, and it kind of ignited me too again, I'm like, wow, this has been going on for a while, but how can I help?" said Ahmad Amin, who said he has never attended an event like this before.

The group plans to meet again to brainstorm additional ways to help.


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