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12-year-old refugee advocate following in her mother’s footsteps

Sunday is World Refugee Day

Sunday was World Refugee Day. Marilyn Parker shares the story of a young refugee advocate following in her mother's footsteps.
Sunday was World Refugee Day. Marilyn Parker shares the story of a young refugee advocate following in her mother's footsteps.

Dana Aljubourr was 1 year old when her parents came to America.

Since then, her mother, Basma Alawee, has been advocating for refugees in Florida.

“After I was born, we moved to Jacksonville and we didn’t have a lot of money,” Dana said. “I remember once when me and mom were shopping, a man came up to her and told her why she was wearing a headscarf and he was like saying very mean comments. I was very angry at that time.”

But instead of a fight, she said, her mother chose to have a conversation, sharing her story with a stranger. Dana is now doing the same with people everywhere.

She read a poem at Florida’s Capitol. She joined the safety patrol at her school. At 12 years old, Dana is the youngest refugee activist in Florida.

“I want to, like, show them that they should not be scared, they should be happy with their story and they should show it to the world,” Dana said.

Dana and her mother push for safe spaces for refugees, using their stories to make sure no one is left behind.

Dana said she likes her mother’s compassion.

“I like how she does it,” Dana said. “She supports the refugees, how she’s one of them. She’s, like, a leader for them.”

Alawee is now the national campaign director for We Are All America. The group works to uphold the nation’s commitments to welcoming and protecting those who seek refuge in the U.S.

There is an event happening this week with the Forward Together Florida Coalition. It will address what cities in the state have done to support immigrants and refugees and what they can do in the future to increase inclusivity for immigrants.


About the Author:

A Florida girl and North Carolina A&T SU grad who thrives in breaking news.