As a young person, adjusting to a new place is difficult no matter the circumstances. In adapting to their new communities, refugee youth need to understand how race and racism may shape their lives in the U.S., including the history of systemic racism and discrimination, the history of anti-racist movements, and what they need to know about current events like protests against police brutality.
Conversations about race are challenging, but they allow people to get to know one another better and build stronger communities. It is important for newcomers to have a better understanding about racism in America, how it may affect their daily lives, and what they can do to change it. It is equally important that refugee service providers consider the adjustments, new information, and learning curves newcomers face. Providers must take those into account as they think about when, where, and how to introduce topics about race, racism, and anti-racism with clients.
Refugee service providers play an important role in helping newcomers integrate into communities across the country. As they adjust to their new life in America, many refugees and their family members are likely to experience racism or discrimination first-hand. In our role as providers, managers, and evaluators of services that help newcomers successfully integrate into U.S. communities, we must be willing and able to have meaningful conversations about race and racism with refugees.