When we launch our #KeysForRefugees awareness campaign, you might expect to see pictures of desperate refugees clinging to rafts or barbed wire, or looking helpless in dirty encampments.
Instead, look for a bright red key.
With 60 million people currently displaced around the world, it’s easy to find images and stories of suffering. They are incredibly powerful and important to understand, but we don't want to lose sight of the power we have to offer hope.
We want to start conversations about what happens when everyday people come together to promote a more welcoming global community. We want to start conversations about our vision for an interconnected world, in which humans go above and beyond to care for one another, and every person has solid footing, an opportunity to contribute, and a place to call home.
We were chatting with a close friend recently when he casually said, “I was a refugee.” He and his parents fled the Soviet Union and resettled in Los Angeles. He now owns a thriving business, and is a great example of someone who gives back to his community at every level.
He’s not alone. Studies in several countries (including Denmark, Australia, and the United States) have found that rather than creating a burden, resettling refugees in a new community often has a positive effect on the local economy. Resettled refugees are also more likely than other migrants to start small businesses.
When we talk about the 60 million refugees and displaced people around the world, we of course see the major humanitarian challenge — perhaps the largest facing our generation.
But we also see potential — 60 million individuals, each with unique experiences, perspectives, and ideas; each yearning to create, to relate, and to contribute. And we see an entire ecosystem of people and organizations dedicated to making sure they get those opportunities.
Which brings us to the red key.
A key is something many of us carry every day, but few of us actually think about. It is a tiny status symbol, unlocking safety, mobility, and comfort — all of the things we want for those who are currently displaced. A key is both intimate and universal.
To us, the red key is a symbol of solidarity, a statement of support for incredible organizations engaged in relief and resettlement, and a reminder of our hope for a world where everyone has a place to call home.
Each key we sell allows us to help fund organizations that are caring for refugees. And each key that changes hands unlocks a conversation about the power we have to create a more welcoming world. By wearing a red key, keeping one on your keychain, or gifting one to a friend, you will be helping us create a new kind of awareness — rooted in optimism and grounded in action.
Together let’s change the global conversation about refugees from one of fear and anxiety to one of possibility. Together, let’s open the door to an extraordinary future.