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The Fourth of July: Lighting up for immigrants and refugees

I still remember the night sky illuminated by vibrant colors of fireworks on the fourth of July, 2022. As an international student, it was my first time joining in the public to celebrate the independence day of the United States. More than two centuries ago, when people declared their independence and freedom on this land, they not only spoke for themselves, but also for people who were new to this country. They spoke for people who were seeking new possibilities for their life. This day also belongs to immigrants and refugees.

Initially, founders of the US fought for the rights of immigrants and refugees. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted, marking the independence of the United States. In an indictment from the text, the nation’s Founding Fathers criticized the king of Great Britain for “preventing the population of the States,” “obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners,” and “refusing to encourage their migrations hither”. They value the equity of life, liberty, and freedom to pursue happiness for everyone on this land. Since then, millions more people have come to this land and played a vital role in shaping the nation's identity.

However, there exists an ongoing controversy about immigrants and refugees in American history. Due to policies, many of them are facing deportation proceedings. Today, some Americans are also opposing their entry into the country and advocating for stricter government restrictions. Zuleyma Castrejon-Salina, a 24-year-old who arrived in the US with her family at the age of 2, said "I don't feel wanted here." Though a lot of immigrants and refugees have built up this society by contributing their unique voices and perspectives from different cultures, a portion of them still feel unwelcome by American society.

As we come together to celebrate this national holiday, we should ensure that we are truly upholding the values and spirits that it commemorates.

My personal move is to join the DREAM Venture Labs as a student volunteer. DREAM is an organization which helps immigrants and refugees start their business and develop their existing business. Here, we encourage people who came from other countries to pursue their own entrepreneurships and provide them with help.

If you also feel the importance of empowering refugees and immigrants, we are more than glad to see you here! You can join us as a student volunteer, a mentor, an investor…there are plenty of possibilities for you to explore, and we hope to create a better future with you.

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