When the last U.S. service members withdrew from Vietnam in April 1975, the first wave of Vietnamese refugees arrived on American soil without any status or access to resources. And history has a way of repeating itself. Today, more than 120,000 Afghans have been evacuated from Afghanistan.Their lives are now endangered because of their affiliation with the United States during a two-decade long war.
We relate to the trauma Afghans are facing today because we are either refugees ourselves or directly tied to the first-generation refugee experience. We want to learn from our past, leverage our shared lived experience, and support as many Afghan lives as we can—before it’s too late.
We created Viets for Afghans from a simple text chain among friends and goal to help to find 75 Vietnamese families to temporarily house or host 75 Afghan refugee families. We exceeded our goal and referred more than 80 volunteers to the local resettlement agencies to take the next steps.
That action-oriented text rapidly evolved into a volunteer-driven coalition that is working on various work streams, from exploring humanitarian parole options for Afghans and advocating for state resettlement funds to resettling more than 50 Afghans through the Sponsor Circle Program.
Our goal is to stay nimble and to encourage anyone to take action to help Afghan refugees.