• Molly Lee

We Hire Refugees

A good job is a cornerstone of a stable life in the U.S. We Hire Refugees is a Portland-based initiative that calls on business and organizations to publicly announce their support for refugees by declaring they make our communities and businesses stronger.

The goal is to rally businesses of all sizes to come together and amplify their voices as signatories to the We Hire Refugees declaration, which reads in part, “We, the undersigned, believe hiring refugees makes our communities stronger and our companies more competitive. We know refugees are often highly skilled and have strong work ethics, in keeping with a nation built by hardworking immigrants.”

Even if a business isn’t in a position to hire refugees, it can still sign the declaration and use the “We Support Refugees” or “We Welcome Refugees” badges.

The initiative was launched by the local company Indow in partnership with the nonprofit Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization in Portland. New Seasons, Zapproved and Neil Kelly are among the more than 90 businesses and organizations in more than a dozen states who have signed the declaration so far.

The goal is to get more than 1,000 businesses and organizations across the nation to declare their support for refugees, demonstrating the breadth of the business community’s engagement on this issue.

Many large corporations have made statements in support of refugees. And while those are important, We Hire Refugees is an enduring platform that helps small and medium-sized businesses come together to have a louder voice. The initiative complements and affirms the work that nonprofits and faith-based organizations have long been doing.

The idea for the initiative took root last spring as the negative political rhetoric around refugees intensified. Indow employs four refugees - three from Burma and one from Iraq - through IRCO. They are some of the company’s most dedicated, hardworking employees and we felt it crucial to counter the vitriol directed at men, women and children who have come to our country seeking a better life. We met with national nonprofit organizations like Welcoming America and Upwardly Global and asked if it would be helpful to have businesses publicly declare their support for refugees. They gave a resounding “Yes!” Fast-forward to the Trump administration's hostile refugee and immigration policies and we quickly launched

Please consider signing the declaration. There is strength in numbers! The more businesses that sign on, the more comfortable others businesses will feel doing the same. Also note that there is a place for individuals to add their names to the declaration!

Indow is a Portland based company launched in November 2010. They create handmade window inserts to make the built environment more energy efficient and quiet.


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