WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, JANUARY 6, 2012 • VOL. 14, NO. 39 •FREE
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
by Nigel RobertsThey arrive in DeKalb from different cor-ners of the world. Many come from refugeecamps in South Asia and others from the chaosand brutality of civil wars in Africa. State andnonprofit agencies in DeKalb help these familiesto resettle and become self-sufficient membersof the community.In December, Gov.
and Geor-gia Department of Human Services Commis-sioner
signed contracts totaling$4.1 million that will enable the agencies to con-tinue to provide services to the roughly 3,000new refugees who arrive annually. Six publicand private agencies in DeKalb received morethan $2.5 million of the federal funds.According to a DHS spokesperson, Georgiadisburses these funds through annual contractsto 12 public and private agencies. The servicesthey provide include English language instruc-tion, health care and employment assistance,with the ultimate aim of enabling refugee fami-lies to transition successfully to life in a newcountry.A refugee is someone who flees his or her country because of persecution, war or violence.Many have a well-founded fear of persecutionfor reasons of race, religion, nationality, politi-cal opinion or membership in a particular socialgroup.Humanitarian concerns led to passage of theRefugee Act of 1980, which among other thingsauthorizes the U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services to provide assistance to refu-gees.Unlike with asylum seekers who arrivewithout prior screening, the U.S. Department of State reviews refugee cases and grants them le-gal entry into the United States. Federal officialsrelocate them to various places throughout thecountry with the assistance of national nonprofitrefugee agencies.
explained that the decision asto where to relocate refugees is based on severalfactors, such as whether the refugee has familyalready settled in a location and an area’s lan-guage capacity. With its increasing diversity, theAtlanta metro area is now a prime destinationfor refugee families.Mixon is the executive director of RefugeeResettlement and Immigration Services of At-lanta (RRISA), located in Decatur. Her organiza-tion is a local affiliate of two national agenciesthat work directly with the State Department toresettle refugees.RRISA is primarily a resettlement agencythat focuses on providing immediate services tohelp newcomers. Mixon said her organization picks up refugees from the airport and providesimmediate food, shelter, medical and other
See Hardeman on Page 11ASee Refugees on Page 11A
by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.com
decorated her diningroom with balloons,cards, posters and oth-er things to celebrate her son’s birthday on Saturday, Dec. 17,even though he had been killedtwo months earlier.
was shotand killed Oct. 15 in his sister’sfront yard off Lakewood Terracein southwest Atlanta. He was 19.“Even though I put my son inthe ground, I still can’t under-stand…They shot him like hewas a dog in the street. He didn’tdeserve that—a dog doesn’t de-serve that,” Gloria said.Recently,
was arrested in connection withMatthew’s death and an initialhearing was held Dec. 28.Gloria said although she isstill grieving, the death of her son has motivated Matthew’sfamily and friends to go out intothe world and do as much as theycan in his name.“He was somebody who al-ways finished what he started,”
Matthew’s brother-in-law said.Matthew was a star football player at Avondale High School.While there, he helped bring theschool to the playoffs for thefirst time in 23 years. Hardemanleft such an impression that sev-eral Avondale alumni dedicatedan award in his honor, whichwas passed down until the schoolclosed in 2010.
, who coachedHardeman at Avondale, said hehad seen him a week before theshooting.“We talked about life, doingthe right thing and staying out of trouble. He wanted to get back inschool and finish up. I told himto be positive and keep doing
Mother remembers slain son’saccomplishments on and off the ﬁeld
DeKalb agencies receive new funding to aid refugee resettlement
Matthew Hardeman, a 2010 graduate of Avondale HighSchool, was killed in southwest Atlanta in October.Photo by Travis Hudgons
Agency Disbursement Amount Contracted Services
International Rescue Committee
Employment, employmentupgrade, refugee youth and socialadjustment servicesDeKalb Technical College
English language instruction andcivics instructionDeKalb County Board of Health
Social adjustment/health servicesRefugee Resettlement andImmigrations Services of Atlanta
Information and referral,employment, citizenship andnaturalization servicesRefugee Family Services
Youth servicesSomali American CommunityCenter
Youth after school services
Source: Georgia Department of Human Services