When African immigrants come to America, the system often seems stacked against them. There are language and cultural barriers that they must navigate, new rules and laws to learn, a new climate and new foods to adapt to. It can feel overwhelming. Finding a good job, a safe place to live and community to trust can be hard enough. Finding opportunities that can help them thrive is another story all together. And that is why ACHD was created: to help our community members THRIVE beyond the point of having basic needs met, allowing them to live lives where they don’t feel limited by a lack of opportunities.
A part of our community being allowed to thrive means that they are able to remain connected to their native cultures. This also means being able to express themselves in ways that feel most natural to them. We don’t want our community members’ needs, desires, concerns and viewpoints to get lost in translation.
At ACHD, our case managers speak Amharic, Arabic, Somali and Swahili, so that we can truly do our best to understand exactly where our clients are coming from. Communicating with them in whichever language they feel most comfortable with is just one of many ways that ACHD is able to ensure that vital community narratives are not lost or silenced. With us, our clients are allowed to tell their own truths, instead of having those truths be interpreted by others.
70% of those we serve came to the United States as refugees. These people are survivors, who have managed to overcome war, violence, famine, environmental disasters, humanitarian crises and more, in order to start over in a new, safer place. The resilience and resourcefulness of these community members enhances and strengthens the citizenry of the greater Seattle area and the United States as a whole. Yet even though they bring so much to the table in terms of their own abilities, they often face an uphill battle when it comes to receiving equitable access or simple fair treatment in their new country. Many of our community members are at an increased risk of facing displacement within the King County area (which is especially tragic when you consider the struggle refugees have been through in their native lands). Navigating the school system can also be especially challenging and legal issues especially confusing.
At ACHD, OUR COMMUNITY will always be our center. And everything that we do will be centered around their well-being, focusing on a prosperous future while also honoring their cultural traditions and creating present-day systems that work FOR them.