Community, International

A New American Forum Aims To Collectively Hear Immigrant Voices

New Americans come to the Bhutanese Community of Syracuse center for help with translating and filling out legal documents. (c) 2018 Payton May

Click to hear Jay Subedi’s story of struggling as a refugee from Bhutan to a successful leader of immigrant communities in America.

Audio Transcript: Refugee Empowerment

By Payton May SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Leaders of several ethnic communities are coming together to form the New American Forum, a group to collectively represent the voices of immigrants in Syracuse. Haji Adan and Jay Subedi were once refugees from Somalia and Bhutan, respectively and have been pushing for members of ethnic communities to unify their voices as new immigrants in America.

“Him [Subedi] and I are working on bringing the new American community together so that we can have one collective voice, one ethnic community based organization,” Adan said. “Him [Subedi] and I want to bring these people together, but it will take time.”

Subedi is the leader of the Bhutanese Community in Syracuse, an organization that helps immigrants from Bhutan who were once refugees. Subedi’s organization helps immigrants fill out legal documents, make doctor’s appointments and learn about the steps to become a U.S. citizen.

“We want every refugee community and every refugee child to thrive and be a success in this new country,” Subedi said. “We do not want to see anybody left behind.”

Jay Subedi stands in front of the Bhutanese Community of Syracuse. Next to him is a Blessing Box, a box where people can put food and clothes in for people in the community who are in need. (c) 2018 Payton May

Adan is the Executive Director of RISE, or Refugee and Immigrant Self-Empowerment, an organization that helps immigrants with housing and employment opportunities, English classes, and document translation. The goal for the members of RISE is to make new members of American self-sufficient economically.

The two leaders, along with fellow acquaintance and a board member of RISE, Tai Shaw, are planning a World Refugee Day celebration in Syracuse as a kickoff summer event for the New American Forum. The three overlap with their services to the community, assisting each other in their individual organizations and promoting cohesive aid to all immigrants.