The Secret's Out: Recent Local Media Coverage of the IRC in Dallas
April brings spring showers, and for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Dallas, showers of accolades from the local press. Executive Director Debi Wheeler often describes the IRC in Dallas as one of the city’s “best-kept secrets,” but word of the organization’s mission and efforts to help refugees survive and thrive in the city spread far and wide in the local press this month. IRC staff, clients and volunteers comment on the great challenges and great successes of refugees in Dallas.
“Thousands of Refugees Make New Homes in Dallas”
Steve Blow in The Dallas Morning News, April 6, 2011 print edition and online
“Some words you just don’t associate with Dallas. ‘Rustic,’ for example. Or ‘relaxed.’ Another word in that category for me is ‘refugee’,” columnist Steve Blow notes. He highlights the story of Mustafa Alasi, an Iraqi refugee now employed and on the track to American citizenship with the help of the International Rescue Committee in Dallas. “If refugees like Mustafa manage to blend so quietly into our city, maybe that’s because one of the main agencies bringing them here works so quietly itself,” writes Blow, describing the process of how the IRC ensures that newly-arrived refugees are self-sufficient in a short amount of time.
Read the full story, available to newspaper subscribers online at http://www.dallasnews.com/news/columnists/steve-blow/20110406-thousands-of-refugees-make-new-homes-in-dallas.ece.
“A Safe Haven and a New Start”
Erin Booke in The Dallas Morning News, April 21, 2011 print edition
Erin Booke reports on the many faces of the International Rescue Committee in Dallas, including staff, volunteers, and clients. Jim Stokes, employment supervisor, describes the mindset of refugees looking for jobs: “Our clients are not looking for handouts. They are coming here with the right attitude to be successful and make the most of every opportunity. Because they are denied that where they are coming from.” The help of volunteers like Paul Minnis eases the burden of refugees encountering new and different health care and school systems, foods, and work styles. Minnis, a long-time family mentor to IRC clients, stresses the commonalities between herself and the clients she spends time with: “I’ve worked specifically with women, and it’s amazing how similar they are to us. There are these transcendent qualities that we share. The refugee community also helps itself—Booke profiles Toe Bi Bae, a Burmese community leader who pushes himself and his people to excel. “Every refugee who moves here, they try hard. Even though they have no school, they try hard. But I feel happy with them that they try to learn,” Bae says, underscoring the importance of education in helping people succeed.
Read the full story, available to newspaper subscribers online at
“How Vickery Meadow Became Dallas’ Own United Nations”
Zac Crain in D Magazine, May 2011 issue
Writer Zac Crain explores Vickery Meadow, the northeast neighborhood where the IRC in Dallas resettles between 600 to 650 refugees each year. “It might sound like a large number, especially since the warren of apartment complexes at Vickery Meadow’s core—where most of [the IRC’s] families end up—is squeezed into slightly less than 3 square miles. But [executive director Debi Wheeler] says only one half of 1 percent of the world’s refugee population gets resettled.” Crain ruminates on the history of Vickery Meadow in his article and the immigrant community now living there.
Read the full story in the May 2011 issue of D Magazine or online at http://www.dmagazine.com/Home/D_Magazine/2011/May/How_Vickery_Meadow_Became_Dallas_Own_United_Nations.aspx.