Press Releases

ECDC Receives The James B. Hunter Human Rights Award

The Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) is pleased to have been honored with the James B. Hunter Human Rights Award yesterday  by the Arlington County Human Rights Commission. Named for former Arlington County Board Member James B. Hunter, the award “goes to individuals, community groups, non-profit organizations and business establishments that promote cultural diversity and equal rights for all residents.”

ECDC was among three organizations and three individuals honored by the Arlington County Human Rights Commission. During the award ceremony, it was clear that the common thread between everyone present, especially the honorees, was a strong belief in human rights, justice, and equal access for all. The evening’s honorees are fighting for causes ranging from advocating for voting rights to welcome and inclusion for newcomers to the U.S.

When speaking of the late Mr. Hunter, his daughter Jessica mentioned how proud her father would have been of everyone who received the award. She shared his vision for Arlington County and  expressed her gratitude for those who continue to fight for what her father believed in.

ECDC’s mission has always been to help immigrants and refugees build sustainable, self-sufficient lives in their new communities. We are pleased that our efforts have contributed to the growth of our community here in Arlington and across the country.


ECDC Statement on FY20 Presidential Determination

Arlington, VA – Today, the Trump administration announced that the refugee resettlement ceiling will be set at 18,000 for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. This is the lowest number since the U.S Resettlement Program was established nearly 40 years ago. The administration previously set the ceiling at 45,000 for FY18 and 30,000 for FY19. While the resettlement number continues to dwindle here in the United States, the number of refugees worldwide grows daily. There are currently over 70.8 million people who are displaced, 25.9 million of whom are refugees.

Since the start of the resettlement program, over 3 million people have been granted the opportunity to rebuild their previously shattered lives here in the United States. Refugees who come through this program undergo a vigorous vetting process, which ensures that they will otherwise be persecuted if they return to their home countries. With the U.S. resettlement program turning its back on the world’s most vulnerable, thousands of people in dire circumstances have lost the hope of ever building a future for their children.

The administration’s low numbers are not an indication of what Americans believe is beneficial for our country. Across the country, communities that have welcomed refugees say that their new neighbors contribute tremendously both economically and culturally. Businesses have also advocated for the resettlement of more refugees, because they are a crucial part of the American labor market.

The United States has historically been a leader in the protection of refugees. However, today’s decision represents a shift that will affect refugees around the world for years to come. It is our hope that the collective voices and actions of those who believe in this life-saving program will continue to make a positive difference in the lives of refugees and other newcomers.

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ECDC is one of nine resettlement agencies working in partnership with the Department of State and the Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide initial placement and support services to refugees being resettled in the United States. ECDC promotes cultural, educational and socio-economic development programs to assist refugees and immigrants in becoming productive members of their new homeland.

 


ECDC Grieves the Loss of Richard Parkins, Former Director of Episcopal Migration Ministries

Arlington, VA – ECDC was saddened to learn that Richard Parkins passed away on September 1, 2019, after a battle with cancer. ECDC’s President, Tsehaye Teferra, Ph.D., staff, and the resettlement community remember Mr. Parkins as a champion of compassion and dignity for refugees and other displaced populations. Mr. Parkins led Episcopal Migration Ministries for 14 years before becoming the director of the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan. Through his work, he facilitated the resettlement of tens of thousands of people and enriched countless lives.

Mr. Parkins was described by his colleagues as “articulate, joyful, persistent and wise, a gracious colleague, [and] a steadfast friend.” Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. His message of hope and kindness towards the stranger will continue to live in those who knew and worked with him.

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ECDC is one of nine resettlement agencies working in partnership with the Department of State and the Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide initial placement and support services to refugees being resettled in the United States. ECDC promotes cultural, educational and socio-economic development programs to assist refugees and immigrants in becoming productive members of their new homeland.