I stand with the people of Tigray.
STOP KILLING US!
Like many of you, I chanted those words over and over again in 2020. I’ve marched, I’ve raised funds, and I’ve joined clean-up efforts, but never in a million years did I think I would be shouting those same words at the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. The same Prime Minister who just last year, received a Nobel Peace Prize.
As of January 8, 2021, a reported 4.5 million people in Tigray need emergency aid and 2.2 million people have been displaced.
Their Black lives matter too.
My heart breaks for my country.
Many people know I was born in Ethiopia. What most don’t know is that my journey to America was pure happenstance. My dad entered our family into the visa lottery, also known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, on a whim and surprisingly, we won. Over 20 million people, from every country, enter the visa lottery every year and my family happened to be part of the 0.25 percent that got a green card.
I didn’t do anything spectacular to earn U.S. citizenship or the privileges that come with it. I think about that often, about how I just lucked into this life with the opportunities that some could only dream of. I think about how my parents put on a brave face, packed up their suitcases, sold what they could, and gave up everything they knew, including the careers they worked so hard for, to give my brother and I a shot at a better life.
With that in mind, how can I not do everything in my power to bring awareness to what I fear has become a genocide and help the innocent families and children back home? My extended family included. How can I sleep, or eat, or do any day-to-day activity when I don’t know if my family is safe, hungry or healthy?
On Nov. 4, when the world was gripped by the U.S. election, war was declared on the regional state of Tigray (the northern region of Ethiopia). A complete telecommunications blackout followed the announcement with internet, phone lines, electricity, and everything that comes with it, including access to bank funds, being cut off in Tigray.
It’s been two months – we haven’t heard from some family members in two months.
As the communication blackout continues, the shortage of food and medical supplies continues, making the situation more dire. There is no way for humanitarian aid to be delivered. The border has been closed for months, roads have been blocked for months, and flights to and from Tigray have been grounded. We can't let this continue any longer. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people will starve to death.
Tigray is on the brink of mass starvation.
We've all seen those Save the Children fundraising ads from the 80's with their disturbing and degrading images of starving Ethiopian children. Those heartbreaking images came from Tigray. From 1983-1985 drought, conflict and government denial caused the famine that killed over 1 million people in Tigray. Does any of this sound familiar? We are watching history repeat itself.
We know how this will end, we need to act now.
How You Can Help
UNHCR is working with authorities and partners in Sudan to provide humanitarian aid including shelter, food, water and health screenings to over 60,000 refugees from Tigray.
If you can’t make a monetary donation, please sign the petitions:
A Call For Action and Peaceful Resolution
Stop Ethiopia and Eritrea Genocidal War On The People of Tigray
How We Can Help
Stay Informed + Spread Awareness
Ethiopia Tigray crisis: Fear of mass starvation - BBC News
‘Extreme urgent need’: Starvation haunts Ethiopia’s Tigray - The Washington Post
‘He’s Planning To Exterminate Us All’: Ethiopians Speak of Ethnic Massacres - Vice
As War Goes on in Ethiopia, Ethnic Harassment is on the Rise - Telegraph
Ethnic Profiling of Tigrayans Heightens Tensions in Ethiopia - The New Humanitarian
UN Fears ‘Massive’ COVID Transmission in Ethiopia’s Tigray - AP News
Churches and Mosques in Tigray ‘vandalised and looted’ in Ethiopia Purge - Telegraph
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”
- Albert Einstein