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  • Writer's pictureUnited Stateless

April'24 Newsletter: Congratulations to Danah Abdulaziz Aracena for her Freedom Fighter Fellowship!


Congratulations to USL co-founder and board chair Danah Abdulaziz Aracena for her selection as part of Detention Watch Network's 2024 Freedom Fighters cohort! 


 
Advocating in Washington, D.C. on the Stateless Protection Act

We've been in Washington, D.C., lobbying for the passage of the reintroduced Stateless Protection Act. United Stateless Executive Director Karina Ambartsoumian-Clough & Member Martine Kalaw, MPA had a wonderful meeting with Congresswoman Mazi Horono earlier this month. Pictured with all smiles, after the meeting.


Meanwhile, if you'd like to make sure the act gets passed, simply go to this website to find your congressperson. The site lists their office phone number. Give it a call. When somebody picks up, you can say something like this:

"I'm calling because I wanted to make sure you had heard about the reintroduction of the Stateless Protection Act."

Then, tell them why the Stateless Protection Act matters to YOU. If you'd like to think more about why statelessness is such a key issue for Americans, you can check out the United Stateless website for hundreds of reasons to support the Act!


We'll also be back in D.C. on April 24 to lobby further. If you'd like to join us, please email advocacy@unitedstateless.org and we'll be in touch.

 
Extending the Hand Of Welcome In Dallas, TX

Congrats to USL Co-founder Miliyon Ethiopis for "best selfie-getting" skills at the recent Welcoming Interactive conference in Dallas. Miliyon was able to get a shot with German wunderkind, Dirk Nowitzki, formerly of the NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks (above)! Perhaps more importantly even that Miliyon's selfie with a 7-foot man (which, we acknowledge, was pretty epic!), we also seized the opportunity to discuss the importance of inclusivity for stateless individuals in the Welcoming Cities initiative. Together, we're paving the way for cities that not only open their doors but also extend a hand to everyone, regardless of their nationality status. That matters more, even, than winning an NBA championship. And we're delighted that Dirk feels the same we way do. We need all the attention we can get on these vital issues and it's so important that well-known people contribute their celebrity to our cause. 

Pictured: USL delegates Miliyon,incoming case manager Juana Guzmán-Mata, Karina and Fadel Tankoano. Not pictured but also in attendance, USL member Amina Ahmed. 

 
Amy Zaleta-Martinez Devotes Art Show To Stateless People

Congratulations to emerging artist Amy Zaleta-Martinez (left), for her groundbreaking exhibition, "Painted Borders - Portraits of the Stateless Sojourner", which opened recently in New York City. Several USL members attended the opening including Karina and Danah (above right).


The series of paintings not only captures the unique identities of stateless people but also imbues them with dignity and strength. Each powerful depiction is juxtaposed with a travel poster style background—an irony representing the statelessness of the individuals portrayed.


The exhibition also includes three deeply personal portraits of individuals affected by statelessness living in the United States, including United Stateless cofounder Danah Abulaziz Aracena, member Karima Marzaq, and Executive Director Karina Ambartsoumian-Clough. Through these intimate portrayals, Amy seeks to shed light on the experiences of those trapped in the realm of statelessness and the urgent need for awareness, education, and legislative change.


We're so grateful to Amy for her art for shedding light on these issues, and for her gracious contribution of a percentage of the sales to our cause. 

 
Educating International Law Students About Statelessness

We were delighted to join our partners at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency for the kickstart of the International Law Students Association (ILSA)'s Jessup Moot Cup finals in Washington, D.C. in early April.


700 students from 100 countries competed in a fictional stateless dispute before the International Court of Justice.  Our Executive Director Karina Ambartsoumian-Clough, Co-Founder Miliyon Ethiopis and Board CoChair Laura Bingham shared the importance of 'Everyone Has The Right to A Nationality' with students new to the topic of statelessness. 


ILSA has taken a commendable step in increasing awareness of the issue of statelessness among future legal practitioners by highlighting it in the competition. In addition to shedding light on this important issue, it may inspire future lawyers and policymakers to approach individual stateless clients with greater understanding and empathy and to work towards resolving statelessness worldwide.

 
Another Legislative Victory

In a significant move towards addressing the issue of statelessness in the U.S., Congress passed an appropriations bill in late March which included specific measures to not only shed light on the number of stateless individuals in the U.S., but which also addresses visa processing for stateless people.


Under this bill, Congress has mandated two important directives to be carried out:


1. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been ordered to publish the number of stateless individuals in immigration detention and provide a clear definition of statelessness. By doing so, Congress will create more awareness and understanding about the plight of stateless individuals, while encouraging further discussion and cooperation on finding effective solutions.


2. The State Department is required to report on visa processing specifically for stateless individuals. This provision will help to address the challenges faced by stateless individuals and hopefully lead to streamlining visa procedures, ensuring more access to essential services and support.

 
More Awards!

Congratulations, too, to USL Executive Director Karina for winning a Women's Community Catalyst Award from We Are All America!

"Our award celebrates the exceptional leadership, character, and dedication of immigrant and refugee women, including trans women and non-binary individuals, who have made a profound difference in their communities." 

It's an honor to win this award, and here's to everyone catalyzing our movement across America, and beyond.

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