A family of five Syrian refugees, a mother, father and three children ages 6, 7 and 8 arrived in Rhode Island early Thursday evening. About 30 people from the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, the Refugee Dream Center and the RI State Council of Churches were waiting for them with welcoming signs, gift baskets, warm smiles and hugs.
After being warmly greeted, the family was taken to their new home where a large home cooked meal and basic food necessities awaited them.
Rhode Island has a long history of welcoming refugees and immigrants. As I waited at the arrivals escalator with the reverend Don Anderson, he told me that he was due to be a speaker at an event in East Greenwich entitled, “What Would Roger Williams Do?” When he heard about the arrival of the refugees, he was first worried that coming to greet them might make him late for his event.
“And then I realized,” said Anderson, “That Roger Williams would be here to greet the refugees.”