The Whitworth “refugee crisis” took place on campus during the windstorm that rocked Spokane and our campus.
This forced some on-campus students to leave their own dorms and move to those that still had power or off-campus locations.
I was struck by the comparisons many of my friends made to the global refugee crisis taking place. This piece is not in any way meant to trivialize the global emergency that is taking place regarding refugees, particularly those from Syria and the Middle East.
According to Merriam-Webster, a refugee is defined as, “someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or political reasons.” The Whitworth crisis in no way counts as such. However, it’s an interesting idea to think that those decisions were made because some dorms had resources. They had power, heat, floor space for sleeping and emergency features. Similarly, our country remains a functional place with a multitude of resources.
Whitworth is a place where we value community. It was an inconvenience, but those in the dorms with resources, opened their doors and welcomed students who needed to leave their homes. Additionally, many off-campus students who still had power, or even those who didn’t, opened their homes.
Matthew 25:35 calls Christians to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and invite in the stranger. We at Whitworth have shown we can do that on a small level. Why can’t we extol those values when it comes to those who are eeing death?
Obviously this is an incredibly complicated issue and I don’t intend to suggest that it could be solved by allowing every single Syrian refugee to enter America. That is not realistic, but at the very least, we could show a little compassion and remember these refugees are people. They are children, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles. They matter and deserve to be considered as our fellow children of God, rather than “rabid dogs” as one frontrunner presidential candidate likened them.
On a small scale, we at Whitworth have demonstrated we value people and we value community. In essence, we “practiced what we preached.” I believe we can demonstrate