The following message was shared by the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) on Sunday, January 29, 2017. Given the important reminder of the oath given by Peace Corps Volunteers, it is being shared by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Colorado (RPCVCO).
In Support of Refugees
In 1958, then-Senator John F. Kennedy wrote A Nation of Immigrants. The text outlines the history and importance of immigration to the United States, as well as proposals to liberalize immigration law.
As one of his first presidential acts, President Kennedy established Executive Order 10924 to promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps. Since 1961, 225,000 Volunteers have been welcomed in 161 countries — including Muslim majority ones, as well as many below our southern border. As foreigners, we were accepted without prejudice into homes, schools, offices, and houses of worship by our hosts.
At the time, each of us made an oath: I promise to serve alongside the people of my Country of Service. I promise to share my culture with an open heart and open mind. I promise to foster an understanding of the people of my Country of Service, with creativity, cultural sensitivity, and respect. I will face the challenges of service with patience, humility, and determination. I will embrace the mission of world peace and friendship for as long as I serve and beyond. In the proud tradition of Peace Corps’ legacy, and in the spirit of the Peace Corps family past, present, and future - I am a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Because of this, those of us who have served in the Peace Corps have a special responsibility. We are tasked with sharing, in a spirit of humility and respect, what it means to be an American. We must speak up on behalf of the refugees who have now been prevented from entering our country and receiving our welcome in return.
Now is the time to rededicate ourselves to the mission and goals of the Peace Corps, to commit ourselves to constructive dialogue – to representing the open hand of America, rather than the closed fist.
To do this, multiple channels exist:
- Call 202-224-3121 to connect with your member of Congress. Ask to speak with the foreign policy or homeland security staff representative. Pledge your support for refugees and disapproval of the executive order titled, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” Learn more about your representative's statements on the executive order.
- Send an email to urge Congress to reject intolerance.
- Connect with the NPCA affiliate group, Peace Corps Community in Support of Refugees, to learn how to take local and national action.
- Contact local resettlement affiliates to inquire how to lend support.
- Engage in community-level activities with your local affiliate group. Ask RPCVs to sign up with NPCA to receive updates and information on key issues.
- Join our nationwide National Days of Action, March 3 - 15, to meet with Congress at the district level and urge their support of Peace Corps values.
- Donate to NPCA’s advocacy efforts to bolster our presence on Capitol Hill and provide more grassroots opportunities for you to advocate.
Our national security depends not on building walls, but bridges. Peace is a product of friendship and understanding, and the Peace Corps community demonstrates our lifelong commitment to those ideals by following through when it’s needed most.
President & CEO
RPCV Guatemala 1988-91
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