Rock Tavern to Host Syrian Refugee Forum on June 12

“We cannot let humanity suffer like this. We have got work to do.” – Latifa Woodhouse

ROCK TAVERN – A community forum on the Syrian refugee crisis entitled “Lessons from the Frontline of the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Lesvos, Greece” will be hosted on Sunday, June 12, at  1 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Rock Tavern, 9 Vance Rd, Rock Tavern, NY.

According to facilitator the Rev. Chris J. Antal, “Latifa and Colin Woodhouse recently spent three weeks in Lesvos, Greece delivering humanitarian aid to refugees arriving from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries. This forum will give participants a sense of what it’s like to be on the front lines of the greatest forced migration of people since World War II. They will share insights as to the interaction between established NGOs (non- governmental organizations) and volunteer groups, the inconsistent and sometimes brutal response of European Union  states to the flood of refugees and the positive role that Unitarian Universalists and all people of faith and conscience can play in this catastrophic, humanitarian disaster.”

An audio visual presentation accompanied by Latifa’s commentary will make real the heart wrenching stories of refugees who have risked their lives and have lost loved ones on their journey to a better life in the West.

Latifa will also present her vision of a religious movement “to stand for what we believe in and to save humanity from this atrocity.” She refers people to their Facebook page: Humanitarian Mission To LesVos For the Refugee Crisis.  She also invites contributions to her Crowd Rise: Humanitarian Mission To LeVos and to Team Humanity of Denmark, who are presently helping the Refugees in Idiom-ini and need help with food, and medical supplies at the border for thousands of refugees.

Latifa is a board of trustee member, Unitarian Universalist  Congregation of Shelter Rock and Colin Woodhouse is also a congregant there. Latifa was born in Kandahar, Afghanistan and has worked to promote women’s equality and human rights in the US and among Muslim communities. Colin  is a former Peace Corps volunteer who has taught at the University of Kabul in Afghanistan, and has designed, developed and led award-winning economic development organizations.

Also participating in the forum will be Ann Lundberg, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network Leadership Team. Her focus has been to urge congregations to support Syrians through the World Food Program, USA.  She will talk about that UN group and why it’s important to not lose sight of the refugees still in the Middle East– even as we in the US try to help refugee families settle into our communities.

The forum will be facilitated by the Rev. Chris J. Antal, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Rock Tavern and Vice-President of the Greater Newburgh Interfaith Council.