We hope you are enjoying a relaxing Thanksgiving morning and that you might have a moment to check out the beautiful faces on our holiday card.

We took the picture in our kitchen—our place of hard work and joy. Each face unique, a story behind each pair of eyes. Since the dawn of time, people have fashioned stories to give meaning to their experiences, to explain the unknown, and to keep the darkness at bay. Stories are part of our humanity – each of us so much more than the sum of our individual experiences. They remind us of all we share in common. And for this reason, especially now, they need to be told!

This is why, a few weeks back, Beautiful Day hosted a special evening featuring four former refugees telling stories from their lives. Teddi saw a gorgeous purple dress through a dusty car window in a Gambian village and it changed the direction of her life. Antoine crossed countries and continents, leaving behind one violent coup after another as he relentlessly pursued his education. Vivian was transported back to Baghdad by a classmate’s casually cruel remark in an ESL class. Aline led her children through a harrowing escape in the middle of the night from the home that she loved.

We are hungry for the connections of stories, which explains why nearly 300 people came out that night. We laughed, sang and shuddered. And we heard things that intersected with our own lives: a little girl’s longing for beauty, the wound left by a careless word, the instinct to protect our children or pursue our dreams.

Right now, forces across the world and in our government are intent on silencing the stories of refugees. We hear generalizations that trivialize individuality and encourage suspicion and fear. There are now more displaced people in the world than the populations of California and Texas combined, yet most Americans have never met a refugee, much less heard their story.

With your help, Beautiful Day continues to grow and we continue to hold onto joy as our secret weapon. For even as fewer refugees are welcomed into our country and services are cut, our storytelling event reminds us that many people are eager to connect with refugees. And as this groundswell grows, fear cannot prevail.

Your continued support is now more crucial than ever. Your tax-deductible donation is an investment in the resilience, well-being, and job-readiness of our newest neighbors. Please give today. You can donate online (one-time or monthly), right here or join #TeamGranola here. Thank you, and may the stories you create this holiday season bring you special joy.

Written by Keith Cooper

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