CWS Lancaster in the Media
To rally against the Trump administration’s proposal to set the maximum number of refugees to zero for fiscal year 2020, about 150 people gathered in Penn Square on Saturday to show solidarity with Lancaster County’s refugees.
The “We Stand for Welcome” event, held outside Central Market, featured speeches from host Church World Service, Lancaster city Mayor Danene Sorace, faith leaders and some refugees who have resettled in Lancaster. The stories of the refugees — those who were separated from their families or are still separated — moved some of the members of the crowd to tears.
LANCASTER, Pa. — Lancaster Central Market, a patchwork of stalls neatly encased in a Romanesque-style downtown building since 1889, has long been a bustling hub where the area’s large Pennsylvania Dutch population sells the fruit, meat, baked goods and other foods produced on farms outside the city.
These days, though, something different is in the air.
The heady scent of spices from the beef samosas at one stall, Rafiki Taste of Africa, mixes with the tang of onions and pineapple being chopped for salsa at Guacamole Specialist. The low growl of sugar cane being crushed into liquid can be heard at Havana Juice. A Puerto Rican flag hangs near the cash register at Christina’s Criollo, where empanadas and sweet plantains are on offer.
The first year of Church World Service Lancaster’s soccer tournament for refugees was supposed to be low key.
The referees were all volunteers and just four teams signed up to play, said Stephanie Gromek, who co-runs the event.
Then 150 people came out to watch.
Four years later, the tournament — being held this weekend at Franklin & Marshall College — will feature food trucks, guest speakers and professional referees.
Eight teams out of 10 that applied will play on Saturday, with two teams advancing to the championship on Sunday, Gromek, Church World Service’s director of development and communications.
LANCASTER, Pa. — Maher Almahasneh returned home from his English language class to a small living room filled with guests. He calls them friends.
Harley Kooker, a 71-year-old dairy cattle veterinarian, was huddled in a kitchen corner assembling a new portable washing machine he’d persuaded a local appliance store to donate. His wife, Kate, was sitting on the couch letting the Almahasnehs’ 7-year-old daughter measure her head and her waist with a tape measure. Their case manager from Church World Service was also there, as was an Arabic translator. Within the hour two more women from their Mennonite church welcome team would drop in to say a quick hello…
Since President Trump issued his “Muslim ban” executive order, the country has been rocked by a cascade of political chaos, and now a critical legal battle that could soon reach the Supreme Court. But another, less visible crisis is unfolding in communities around the country, where global refugee diasporas have put down roots. For those set to arrive from the seven majority-Muslim nations targeted by the ban, Trump’s blatantly discriminatory decree represents an overarching challenge surrounding his election: how to bridge the divides of ideology and cultural difference in an insecure world.
While the various court challenges to the ban move ahead, refugee lives hang in the balance in Lancaster, Pennsylvania…
To schedule an interview or reqeust information for a news story, please reach out to Stephanie Gromek, Development and Communications Coordinator.