How can you choose life, but not choose ALL life? Who are you to judge that one life is important than another? What if you were born in a country and lived everyday in a constant state of terror?

Last week I took an Uber after a red eye at 5am from JFK (ironic I know) to my apartment in Manhattan. I was grumpy and sleepy, and honestly didn’t want to talk to anyone. I was quickly thrown off, by how kind my driver named Turyalai, was to me and we began to chat… He fled to the United States from Afghanistan last year at 28 years olde with his baby and wife because of their safety. He said, “Would you believe me if I told you I lived like a king over there as a civil engineer, and built a 14 bedroom house for my entire extended family to live together? After serving for the United States Army for 2 years, I had to flee because the Taliban wanted my head. They come to my house every week and ask my mother where I am, and she tells them she doesn’t know. I pray everyday they don’t come back. I would live in Afghanistan, that’s my home, but I can’t go back, and no one but grocery stores and Uber will hire me here, so we barely get by.”

Don’t ever take anyone for granted, and I mean that quite literally…pick your eyes up off the ground and off your phone screens to notice the humans around you. It’s the little things. The everyday things that can change lives, and trust me, it’ll change yours too. Smile when someone opens the door for you, be kind when someone is rude, take the time to ask your neighbor about their day, talk to your Uber driver who drives from 3am-11am, sleeps for 4 hours and then again 3pm-11pm every. single. day. so he can support his family in a safe country that he maybe doesn’t even want to live in.

Turyalai, told me that the International Rescue Committee gave his family $4500, a temporary place to stay, and a job, when he first arrived to the United States to get started with their new lives and he is forever grateful… although it’s still a struggle, but everyday gets easier and he will find a civil engineer job eventually. With the Manhattan skyline in clear view, I said, “do you see that yellow skyscraper in Fidi? That building was built by an immigrant taxi driver, and one day I know I’ll see yours in the skyline too.”

I’m really not sure, why people forget that refugees are human too: 65 million individuals across the world, forced to flee their homes. They are fathers, daughters, hungry babies, serving members of the United States Army who protected OUR country, smart collegiate graduates, successful business owners, FRIENDS, and they are are some of the most kind and inspiring human beings you’ll ever meet.

Refugee lives matter. Choose to love your neighbor. We all call this planet home, and it’s our civil duty to share every inch of it with one another. Consciously decide with all words leaving your lips to make that stranger’s day, because we are all in this fight we call life together.

You can be that force for change. Choose humanity. #RefugeesWelcome

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