Dosse Amedin: NIEP community organizer highlight
Get to know one of the eight National Immigrant Empowerment Project, or NIEP, community organizers that are advocating alongside members of their community and empowering the immigrant community to take the lead in creating long-lasting, positive changes in their cities.
Church World Service
Greensboro, North Carolina
Why do you enjoy working with the immigrant and refugee community?
My work is a substantial part of my life and the good news is that it can be truly meaningful. It’s a true driver for a fulfilling, high-quality life. To be clear, my work is not a synonym for a job; work can be paid or unpaid. I mean, I’ve been doing this for so long (in an informal way) before I got this opportunity at CWS. First, I am doing this because I’m one of them, I belong to this community, and I understand the needs. Second, I love the fact that my work is not just about myself, it helps to contribute to a better society.
What inspired you to enter this field of work?
My mother and my sister are my true inspiration. I learned from them how to be a voice for people that do not have one.
In your opinion, what benefits does integration offer your community? What strategies have you found most impactful when promoting integration?
The community living/integration has many benefits both individually and for my whole community. Beside the ability that the immigrants and refugees must see friends and family more often, they have the opportunity to work in the community. Also, the community integration work makes my community more diverse, and a better place to live. Greensboro and the triad are becoming more and more diverse and a better place to live. All this because my community speaks up for themselves and work hard to be integrated.
How have community organizing efforts impacted your community?
Life can be difficult, but many people find satisfaction and happiness by helping to make the world a better place. Sometimes the small, simple acts of service and kindness make the most difference. To make a difference in the world, it starts with our own community and the interests of those most in need. The community integration helps my community to be socially and politically active, by volunteering, by attending elected official meetings, and making our community more engaged and positive by participating in charitable work. The community organization impacted the level of engagement in my community.
In what ways have immigrants and refugees been involved in grassroots organizing?
With the help of resettlement agencies, faith leaders, allies, and partners, immigrants and refugees work to end injustices against themselves regardless of their status, express radical welcome for all, and ensure that values of dignity, justice and hospitality are lived out in practice and upheld in policies. The immigrants and refugees attend official elected meetings, sign letters, call elected officials, hold meetings regularly, volunteer, vote, apply to be census takers and complete the census, reach out the community for community activities, and speak at different press conferences.
How has the immigrant community been empowered in your community? Why is it beneficial for them to feel empowered?
The support received in the community from different organizations and agencies, from the mayor of the city of Greensboro, the League of Women Voters and from the faith leaders is beneficial for the immigrants and refugee’s community. It is important because as people from different background, we need some powerful voice to back our efforts. Their support shows that we are not alone. However, we understand that self-empowerment is more important because that’s the only way to believe in what we’re doing.
Can you briefly explain your project and what changes you are hoping to see over the next few years? What do you hope communities across the country will learn from the National Immigrant Empowerment Project or your project specifically?
For the coming years, I want the see the youth from our community and the immigrants and refugees to run for offices. I’d like to see more engagement, more attendance to the elected official meetings, and more leadership. The NIEP has been a big support for the immigrants and refugees across the country. Their support helps to build self-confidence, promote immigrant and refugees’ well-being. Through struggles and hardships, we may be doubting who we are, who we are becoming, or who we are capable of being, or even have a hard time to find our identity in this country, but the National Immigrant Empowerment Project has always been supportive and help us to believe that the American dream still possible.