Refugees and Illness Today: How Vulnerable Populations Are Still Othered

Lecture Four in the First Responders Series, evoking memories of the 19th century Great Hunger refugees, modern refugees fleeing deadly conditions in their country, are experiencing the Covid Pandemic on a different level. Facing health crises as they wait while their paperwork is processed, how can refugees navigate the current health crisis? Recently arrived families have the problems of acculturation and settling in, compounded by this crisis. Being a stranger in a strange land is no easier now than it was in the 19th century, and Covid 19 presents challenges which should remind us of our own ancestors' struggles.

RISSE Albany is a family-based center with the mission to equip refugees and recent immigrants to build sustainable, independent lives by offering language and literacy instruction, as well as support with life skills and integration into U.S. culture and community. RISSE works in partnership with the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), which services refugees and immigrants for their first 90 days in the U.S. RISSE also continues to enjoy thriving partnerships with The College of Saint Rose and Emmaus UMC.

Rifat Filkins is Executive Director of RISSE in Albany and has Masters degrees in Art History and in Education