A group of refugees spent a recent afternoon in the last place you'd ever expect: Donald Trump's childhood home. And no, Trump did not open his doors to them. (Come on, he'd never do something like that.)
Last month, the internet discovered an Airbnb listing for the house where Donald Trump grew up in Queens, New York. The home, complete with photos, artwork, and framed magazine covers honoring the dude currently attempting to govern our country while simultaneously plugging his real estate brand, is still available on Airbnb. Reporters from both Newsweek and Mashable bravely spent the night there for the sake of journalism, but the the latest organization to shell out cash for some time in the home where a young Donald Trump probably daydreamed about getting a spray tan someday is making the biggest statement thus far.
Oxfam, a non-profit that works to end the injustices that cause poverty, rented the home and invited four refugees to gather there. Refugees are people who are forced to leave their country to avoid persecution, war, or other violence. The organization shared a blog post on its website, explaining the decision to rent the home for this purpose, and introducing us to the four refugees, who are from Syria, Somalia, and Vietnam.
"Millions of families around the world have been forced to flee their homes in order to survive, creating the world’s worst displacement crisis since World War II," reads the blog post. "In this moment, what better place to show world leaders the value of a safe, welcoming home for those fleeing unthinkable situations than the childhood home of the US president."
Oxfam's decision to invite refugees into Trump's childhood home not only sends a message to Trump, but to leaders from around the world, many of whom happen to be currently attending the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, just across the East River from Queens. Oxfam aims to send a very clear message to all of these leaders: "refugees are welcome here." Furthermore, Oxfam explains that Trump will be deciding on how many refugees the United States will resettle in 2018 in the next few weeks, so it's an important time for Americans to reach out to their government leaders and urge them to welcome refugees.
Just one week into his presidency, Trump signed an executive order issuing a travel ban that discriminated against citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries, making it clear that he does not have much compassion for foreigners. The upcoming decision doesn't only lay in Trump's tiny hands, but in the hands of many other government leaders–so telling them that you support welcoming refugees can make a huge difference.
The refugees who attended the gathering are Eiman Ali, who was resettled in North Carolina from from Somalia when she was 2; Abdi Iftin, who was resettled in Maine from Somalia in 2014; Ghassan Shehadeh, who was resettled in Maryland from Syria in 2015; and Uyen Nguyen, who was resettled as a 10-year-old in California from Vietnam in 1985.
Watch the video below to learn more about Oxfam's project and the four featured refugees.
Header image courtesy of Chris Gregory/Oxfam.