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Friday, February 12, 2016

Get the smelling salts for Jim Mageau and Elaine Morgan

By Steve Ahlquist in Rhode Island’s Future
2016-02-11 First Syrian Refugee Family in RI 003
These are the people Charlestown curmugeon Jim Mageau and
 state Senator Elaine Morgan are afraid of.

A family of five Syrian refugees, a mother, father and three children ages 6, 7 and 8 arrived in Rhode Island early Thursday evening. 

About 30 people from the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, the Refugee Dream Center and the RI State Council of Churches were waiting for them with welcoming signs, gift baskets, warm smiles and hugs.

2016-02-11 First Syrian Refugee Family in RI 004

After being warmly greeted, the family was taken to their new home where a large home cooked meal and basic food necessities awaited them.

Rhode Island has a long history of welcoming refugees and immigrants. 

2016-02-11 First Syrian Refugee Family in RI 008As I waited at the arrivals escalator with the reverend Don Anderson, he told me that he was due to be a speaker at an event in East Greenwich entitled, “What Would Roger Williams Do?” 

When he heard about the arrival of the refugees, he was first worried that coming to greet them might make him late for his event.

“And then I realized,” said Anderson, “That Roger Williams would be here to greet the refugees.”

Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member. and Twitter: @SteveAhlquist