Behind the headlines

Despair and devastation ring loud in headlines defined by the hopelessness and loss felt by millions everywhere. The weight of those words is heavy, and the futures of many communities seem uncertain at best. But brave individuals are rewriting their story. Theirs is not a story of hopelessness and loss, but one of optimism and strength.

Utkarsh Ambudkar, actor, musician and writer; Samer Saliba, urban advisor for the International Rescue Committee; Amal Kassir, Syrian-American poet; and Amani Yahza, Yemeni rapper, rip words directly from these headlines and use them to reframe the narrative.

————Video Transcript————
71 million sets of footsteps
Fleeing through unforgiving soil

Sirens blare, bombs explode Family homes reduced
To piles of ash and clouds of smoke
And with them, any sense of stability Parents yearning for the ability
To hold their child and say, ‘We are safe, we are home.’

Displaced by war, conflict, and calamity
Famine advances rapidly
Disease devastates communities
Millions striving to survive

And more headlines blur by
Just more blips on a smartphone
Graphics on a news scroll
Segments as the news drones
On and on
Millions of stories untold
Millions of futures on hold
They vanish as the noise grows

But displaced is not disheartened
Displaced is not forgotten
Displaced is not an ending
For these millions carry on
With an unstoppable will
A drive to rebuild
For their

And with Rescue by their side,
They’re rewriting their own stories

Stories of a safe place to lay one’s head
Free from violence in a new land
Where a warm welcome and a kind hand
Can stop someone’s world from shaking

Fleeing families reunited, stops the heart from aching
New home, new hope

Stories of education
That is building a foundation
For millions of children

School provides the lessons
Inspires imagination
Preparation for the world they’ll inherit
So they can make it their own

Stories of clean water,
Health care and good doctors
Supplies and mental health providers
Turn patient to survivor

Stories of establishing economic stability
Dollars in the billfold
Jobs beyond the war zone
Training and career paths
A new life to build toward

Stories of empowerment
For those whose futures were in jeopardy
Making women and girls
The drivers of their own destiny
And that of their community

And this is only the beginning
Another headline scrolls by
The story is soon to be rewritten
By those we serve
They turn headlines to hope
And give the words new meaning”

The IRC helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future.


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