The World at Our Doorstep • 2012-2013 • Report No. 32
The World at Our Doorstep
The Onondaga Citizens League published its first study report in 1979, the same year that thefirst refugees from Vietnam were resettled in Syracuse. It is somehow fitting then, that as OCLcelebrates the 35th anniversary of its founding, we release our latest report,
The World at Our Doorstep
, which explores – and celebrates – our community’s continuing commitmentto welcoming and resettling refugees from all over the world.This year’s study on refugee resettlement grew out of an awareness that while Syracuse has a long history of welcoming new populations, the increasing numbers of refugees resettled here inrecent years have brought concerns about the community’s ability to absorb these new residentsand help them adjust. Many recent refugees come from areas of the world where they sufferedyears of civil strife, warfare and deprivation. They arrive with fewer resources and higher needsthan past refugees. The Citizens League study sought to determine what might be done tostrengthen the existing human services system that helps refugees thrive and become part of our community. Acknowledgement is due to the Study Committee and its co-chairs, Heidi Holtz and KristenMucitelli-Heath who never wavered in their commitment and passion to the study process andthe topic. Study writer Becky Sernett excelled in keeping us grounded and weaving our many conversation threads into a cohesive report; designer Nancy Boyce created the attractive layoutand graphic artist Brenna Merritt provided the cover design. OCL office coordinator ColleenKarl-Howe managed the process from start to finish. We are also grateful to Karen Villi at PEC,Inc., our host for many morning meetings, and also to the United Way and Brian Moore foruse of the Gifford Community Room. Many thanks to Northside UP, Hopeprint and theButternut Community Police Center for use of their photographs, and to Damian Rakowsky for the colorful infographic.Special thanks are extended to the individual and corporate members who support the work of the League through their membership dues and financial donations, and to University Collegeof Syracuse University for its administrative and organizational support of the work of OCL.For 35 years, the Onondaga Citizens League has represented a remarkable example of citizenparticipation in public affairs in Central New York. Founded in 1978, OCL is a nonpartisan,nonprofit organization that encourages citizen engagement in public issues. OCL’s annualstudy on a topic of community-wide importance culminates in a report designed to helpcitizens comprehend the issue and its implications, and give policy-makers and community groups recommendations for action.
Executive Vice President April 2013