The Pacific Northwest is home to refugees from all over the world. For nearly 40 years, Washington state has resettled some of the largest refugee communities in the U.S. As they have settled into their new homes, refugees have transformed Northwest communities with new foods, customs, celebrations, languages, and exposure to other parts of our globe.

After World War II displaced many thousands of people all over Europe, the United Nations established the Convention on Refugees in 1951, defining who is a refugee and creating a globally recognized resettlement process. Historically, the U.S. has led the global community in taking in refugees from some of the most difficult places on the planet, often receiving more refugees than the next ten countries combined.

Refugee Voices of the Pacific Northwest is a forum for refugees to tell their stories. The people on this blog are strong, resilient, and contribute to their communities. Some have been here for decades, some for just a few years. Some qualify as refugees with the United Nations before coming here, others apply for asylum after they enter the U.S. All have experienced being uprooted from their homes and starting over.

Read their stories and let us know what you think.

This blog is a project of the Somali Family Safety Task Force, a community based organization in South Seattle that serves refugee and immigrant women and their families. Learn more at www. http://somalifamilysafetytaskforce.org.

Interviews, content, and web design: Dori Cahn

Editing and technical assistance: Nick Dreher

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