We act because our humanity urges us to reach out to people living in fear. No one deserves to know the ugliness of war or the pangs of hunger.
Formed in 2015, the name of our organization comes from a Syrian folktale entitled “The Three Spinners,” recorded by Muna Imady. The story speaks of generosity, compassion, and humility.
In the world, there are 68.5 million forcibly displaced people. Of that 68.5 million, 40 million of them are internally displaced, 25. 4 million are rtefugees and 3.1 million are asylum-seekers. Of the 25.4 million refugees, registered by the UNHCR, half of them are under the age of 18. These men, women, and children come from many locations of the globe, especially places like South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria all accounting for 57% of refugees.
What constitutes our community and the United States? According to the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, 1,248 refugees have arrived on American soil, just in this past year alone (October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018). The role of immigrants and newly arriving refugees are a huge part of the United States. In the past few decades, there has been an increase of globally displaced people due to worsening situations and ongoing conflicts. However, the refugee arrivals and admittance in the United States has increasingly been lowering.
In Champaign county alone, immigrants contributed $57.2 million in state and local taxes and $119.1 million in federal taxes (Report prepared by the University YMCA, Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, and the University of Illinois Research Park) As of 2016, there were 23,992 immigrants living in Champaign Country and 7,094 of them were refugees making them 3.5% of the population here.
Understanding the dynamics and the diverse identities of those who make up a world that is more and more globalized is crucial to creating conversations about displacement and hate while working towards something positive. We encourage you to become part of our cause and speak out in the face of violence and hatred.
Board of Directors
Alexandra van Doren
President — [email protected]
Alexandra van Doren is a J.D. candidate at the University of Michigan Law School. She is a student attorney for the International Refugee Assistance Project and a volunteer for the Syrian Accountability Project which assembles prosecution documents against Assad’s regime by researching and compiling the crimes committed during the civil war in Syria. She recently completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a focus on Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Motivated by the refugee crisis in Syria, she co-founded Three Spinners Inc. in 2016.
Director of Development — [email protected]
Mia Adams is a graduate student studying information science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is enrolled in her final year at the iSchool, and is interested in looking at how information is accessed and applied by immigrant and refugee populations, and how Community Informatics and Digital Literacy programs can be utilized to build horizontal relationships and strengthen communities. Mia finished her MA in African Studies in 2018, and will graduate in May of 2020 with a MS in Library and Information Science. In her free time, she enjoys photography, cinema, and international foods.
Director of Events and Community Engagement — [email protected]
After receiving a MAS and CAS of Education at the U of I, Katie is the Educational Program Specialist at the Museum of the Grand Prairie at the Champaign Forest Preserve District. In that role, she is interested in welcoming all residents of Champaign County to both the museum space, and the greater outdoor space of our local preserves. Katie believes all change begins at a local level. To that end, she is one of the two organizers and curators of the RESIST Art Event. RESIST has hosted over 100 artists, makers, bakers, musicians and volunteers s a year since 2016, as they work collaboratively to raise funds for local organizations that directly support local marginalized populations.
Director — [email protected]
Jordan McGuire recently moved to the Champaign-Urbana area after working with refugees from Iraq, Syria and Nepal for the last 4 years. She helped mobilize people to serve the refugee community and looks forward to working in this community as well. She loves good coffee and spending time learning about other cultures.
Treasurer — [email protected]