Last week, on Giving Tuesday, over 300 people braved the cold to join Cotopaxi and the International Rescue Committee in a gesture of compassion, uniting as a force for good at the #JustLikeUs Lantern Festival. Together, we raised over $28,000 dollars for the International Rescue Committee to help them respond to the refugee crisis in the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S.
The event featured speakers and a gallery of photos from Syria, culminating in a beautiful lantern lighting experience as participants joined together to share their messages of hope, compassion, and commitment to action. Qutaiba Idlbi, a Syrian refugee and non-violence advocate who escaped torture in Syrian prisons, flew in from D.C. to share his story. Idlbi spoke about his experiences, answered questions about the crisis, and encouraged empathy for the individuals and families who are fleeing their homes in search of safety. Patrick Poulin, Executive Director of the Salt Lake City IRC, spoke about the IRC’s work both locally and globally, emphasizing the importance of programming that eases the transition for families once they reach their new home in the U.S.
With well over 50 million people displaced globally, the world is experiencing the largest humanitarian disaster since WWII. A crisis of this magnitude requires a global response. If you’re looking for a way to get involved, please take a look at these helpful tips from the IRC. We thank everyone would made the #JustLikeUs Lantern Festival a night to remember, and invite you to check out photos from the evening below.