People say this is the “most wonderful time of the year;” yet, for so many it is just another day of sorrow and fear. As the good people of the world concern themselves with threats of terrorism and the plight of refugees, there certainly will be lengthy conversations around dinner tables, cocktail bars and water coolers about these ‘hot’ topics this holiday season. Let us be sure of our facts before we assert our opinions.


The Geneva Convention on Refugees defines refugees as individuals and families living outside their country of citizenship due to fear of persecution resulting from their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and, their personal safety would be jeopardized were they to stay in their home country.

The following statement is by the Refugee Services Collaborative of Greater Cleveland (RSC), a group of 15 agencies committed to excellent refugee resettlement in Northeast Ohio. Global Cleveland is a proud member of the RSC.

The tragic November 2015 events in Paris have placed a spotlight in Cleveland on the plight of refugees, the people and families we’re proud to call friends, co-workers and neighbors.

In 2014, RSC member agencies were involved in resettling, welcoming and integrating 700+ refugees in Northeast Ohio. The RSC is comprised of three resettlement agencies, multiple community- and faith-based nonprofits, three public school systems, as well as representatives from Cuyahoga County and Cleveland City Council.

By definition, refugees are people and families who are here in Cleveland because they faced a serious threat to their safety in their former homes. These new Clevelanders know personally the horrors of war and injustice. They’ve witnessed firsthand the destruction of their homes and businesses, the abuse and murder of family members and friends, and the total loss of basic human rights.

Historically, our country has led the way globally in welcoming refugees, who are resilient survivors. Those coming to Cleveland now are no exception. They are eager to rebuild their lives, keep their families and newfound communities safe and participate fully in the American ideals of freedom, personal responsibility and opportunity. Moreover, study after study has proven that refugees are an economic engine for the communities that welcome them. Here in Cleveland, the RSC commissioned an impact study in 2012 demonstrating that refugees and those who assist their resettlement yielded for Northeast Ohio a 10 to 1return on economic investment. Moreover, refugees stemmed Cleveland’s population loss by 3% from 2000-2010.

The RSC will continue to advocate for all refugees and their continued resettlement in our community. Their presence strengthens Northeast Ohio’s cultural diversity, deepens our labor and talent pool, and helps position Cleveland as the community we know it can be a vibrant and welcoming 21st century international city unhindered by fear, a city eager to embrace law-abiding, responsible residents, regardless of the manner in which they arrive here. To learn more, we encourage you to visit the RSC website at and follow us on Facebook (Refugee Services of Greater Cleveland) and Twitter (@RefugeeServeCLE).

In addition to endorsing the above joint statement by the RSC, Global Cleveland continues to support Federal programs that provide full security reviews, to assure that we are welcoming refugees from all across the globe who are entering our community for peaceful purposes.