Why Swim for HIAS?
We are in the midst of the worst refugee crisis the world has seen since World War II. 65 million people around the world -- 1 out of every 122 people on earth today -- have been displaced from their homes, many of them forced to flee with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Some of them have literally had to swim for their lives.
My name is Melinda Menzer. I'm an open water swimmer, and on June 4, 2017, I successfully swam 9.2 miles in the Tennessee River. Training for such a distance meant many hours in the water, and I have had plenty of time to think about my own family's experience while I prepared for the swim. Some of us made it to the United States and lived; some of us were denied that opportunity -- and died in the Holocaust.
That’s why I’ve started this fundraiser. I want to help the world’s most vulnerable refugees, the people HIAS is working to protect -- including ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. And I hope you will join me.
HIAS provides a safe environment for refugees living in camps or on the margins of cities and assists those who are resettled in the U.S. and other countries. HIAS also advocates in the U.S. and internationally for laws that protect the human rights of refugees. They’ve been helping refugees for more than 130 years.
I chose HIAS because of its trustworthiness and its values. HIAS has received four out of four stars from Charity Navigator, with a financial score of 95 and an accountability/transparency score of 97 (both out of 100). And HIAS welcomes refugees of all religions and ethnicities fleeing xenophobia, racism, and other manifestations of hatred. As the international refugee agency of the American Jewish community, dedicated to the principle of refugee protection, HIAS recalls the wisdom of Hillel: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?" (Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14).
On June 4, 2017, I swam 9.2 miles. But if I swam only for myself, who am I? Please join me to help those who swim for freedom with a donation to HIAS.
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