This month's terrorist attacks in Paris have sharpened Americans' feelings toward the Syrian refugee crisis, which has been met with Republican-led concerns about refugees' entry into the United States. But one MLB pitcher and his girlfriend took a more empathetic approach to the situation over the holiday weekend.
Oakland Athletics pitcher Sean Doolittle and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area host and writer Eireann Dolan hosted 17 Syrian refugee families over Thanksgiving in Chicago, where they were also joined by the city mayor, Rahm Emanuel.
Dolan shared a few shots from the feast on Instagram:
She captioned her post, in part, "Chicago is so lucky to have 17 Syrian refugee families now officially calling it home. We thought we'd officially welcome them with one of our greatest American traditions, Thanksgiving." The family has also started a GoFundMe to help families transition into a new life within the Chicago area.
Doolittle and Dolan's outreach, which provided communal warmth and a shared meal, comes as politicians argue about whether the U.S. should allow Syrian refugees into the country. So far, 2,174 refugees have already been vetted and admitted to the United States, and not one has been arrested, according to November figures from the U.S. State Department. Responding to November's ISIS-led attacks in Paris, the State Department called for states to openly shelter refugees, but with many state governors issuing executive orders to bar refugees, the House of Representatives recently signed a bill blocking all prospective entrants until more stringent vetting is done.
This unsightly reaction to Syrian refugees, who are fleeing crimes not committing them, helped motivate Doolittle and Dolan to act this past week. Dolan detailed similar thoughts on her personal blog, explaining their Thanksgiving plans and reminding us all that we're a nation of immigrants, too:
When [my family] came to this country, it would have been very easy for them to be mistaken for those who would wish to commit terrorist activities when all they really wanted to do was to give their children a better life free from war and poverty.
Hopefully, as she writes, simple events and acts of kindness toward those in need will help dispel negative, knee-jerk reactions to incoming Syrians who just want nothing more than a normal-as-can-be life.
"Hearts and minds are changed through small actions that we all have the ability to take every single day," she wrote.
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