How Ithaca became a “global hub” for refugees

Immigrant's burden

A feature article on the news site Documented describes Ithaca’s long history of sheltering and supporting refugees from around the world. Written by Meghna Maharishi, a student at the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the piece calls the area “a global hub for people fleeing oppression.”

How Ithaca Became a Haven for Refugees” looks at the way citizens, organizations, government, and institutions in Ithaca have opened their doors to people fleeing violence or persecution in Myanmar, Afghanistan, Syria, and many other countries. Ithaca City of Asylum (ICOA) is among the featured groups.

Maharishi tells the story of cartoonist Pedro X. Molina, who fled Nicaragua with his family in 2018. After two and half years as ICOA’s artist-in-residence, he became an Artist Protection Fund Fellow in residence at Cornell University’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program.

“Molina said ICOA was the only organization willing to resettle his wife and two young children as well,” Maharishi writes. “He received offers from other international assistance programs, but none of them could accommodate his family. ICOA helped Molina’s children get settled into local schools and arranged English lessons for his wife.”

The article also describes efforts at Cornell, Ithaca College, Ithaca Welcomes Refugees, and Catholic Charities of Tompkins County.

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