The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday October 15th

Posters in business windows welcome refugees in Chapel Hill

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The message is simple: “Refugees are welcome here.”

A national organization called Jewish Voice for Peace claims responsibility.

Their mission is to confront Islamophobia and promote Palestinian solidarity with the Jewish community.

The organization opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression and has different chapters all over the country.

An estimated 20 million people in the world have been displaced by conflict or persecution, according to the United Nations.

North Carolina is one of several states whose governors have refused to accept Syrian refugees, citing security concerns.

There were 26 other governors who also made formal statements opposing admittance.

According to Noah Rubin-Blose, a member of the Triangle chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, the posters are a visible way to confront racism and to engage refugees in Chapel Hill.

“We seek to directly challenge the Israeli government and promote Jewish values of liberation,” he said.

“It’s powerful for people to take action, even if it’s small action.”

Borna Zarei, an employee at Jasmine Mediterranean Bistro on Franklin Street, said he agrees.

A refugee himself, Zarei said he was approached by Jewish Voice for Peace to hang one of these posters in Jasmine’s front window.

“I sympathized with their cause,” he said.

“They’re trying to make the community a better place.”

As a member of the Bahá’í faith, Zarei said he was unable to attend college in the theocratic Islamic Republic.

“The government is hard on Bahá’í and any other religion besides Muslim,” he said.

He came to North Carolina three years ago and currently lives with family in Chapel Hill.

“Chapel Hill and Carrboro have been really open and welcoming,” he said.

People on campus have also responded to the posters.

“I think it’s a really well-designed poster,” UNC first-year Liam Kelly said of one of the posters hanging in Bull’s Head Bookstore.

I definitely agree with the statement, and I’m glad that businesses agree.”

He also acknowledged the divided opinion of refugees.

“I think people should be more accepting of them because of our country’s founding,” he said.

“I think the drawing is sympathetic, and I hope they make people more willing to understand the problem.”


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