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News from the Office of the Senator Jeff Klein


Contact: Barbara Brancaccio 917-868-1556



New York, NY—June 20, 2018—Senator Jeff Klein today passed a legislative resolution on the floor of the New York State capital memorializing that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has proclaimed June 20, 2018 as World Refugee Day in the State of New York, in conjunction with the United Nations World Refugee Day. The resolution recognizes the plight of individuals and families forced to flee violence and persecution in their own countries, and honors the humanitarians who work to help them.


"Today New Yorkers stand in support of refugees around the world, and the thousands of humanitarians who protect and assist them. Fighting for freedom, protecting and advancing individual rights and assisting the most vulnerable among us, are fundamental New York values and we are proud to commemorate this important day.” 


According to the United Nations, every minute 24 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution and terror. Between October 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018 the United States has admitted only 15,000 refugees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, with New York ranking among the top states for accepting refugees. At this rate, the US is slated to welcome the fewest number of refugees since beginning of the program in 1948.


Senator Klein, along with his colleagues in the New York State Senate and Assembly have also recognized through this resolution that New York State nonprofit organizations and religious institutions are responsible for resettling over 5,000 refugees since 2015, from more than 40 countries, and pay tribute to the dedication of humanitarian workers who devote their lives to ensuring that vulnerable people can find a home and live free from terror and oppression.


To further the mission of World Refugee Day, Senator Klein also issued a New York State Proclamation recognizing the extraordinary efforts made by Hearts and Homes for Refugees (HHR), a nonprofit organization started  in Pelham, New York, which has brought together over 2,000 volunteers and supporters in Westchester County to welcome resettled refugee families and advocate for refugees here and across the globe.


“By recognizing and honoring HHR’s important work, Senator Klein is not only helping us to make a difference in the lives of those fleeing persecution, he is inspiring others to volunteer and support our growing movement,” said HHR Founder Kathie O'Callaghan. “We thank Senator Klein for helping us make Westchester County a model for other communities looking to assist those who are fleeing political repression and come here seeking freedom and safety.”


HHR was founded in 2015 as a grassroots humanitarian organization and resettled the first Westchester County refugee family. Their mission is to support the U.S. Department of State agencies, which welcome, protect and advocate for refugees in Westchester County.  HHR is a growing network of volunteers–families and neighbors, community organizations, and people of goodwill from all faith and civic groups throughout Westchester County. The organization worked with Westchester Refugee Task Force, an early proponent of the call to action and today, HHR continues with its mission to work closely with others to offer talent, time and expertise to identify and utilize resources that will offer hope and help to refugees in keeping with the time-honored American practice of welcoming newcomers.  

HHR has also launched the Westchester Refugee Initiative, a coalition-building effort with welcoming programs and activities for all of Westchester County, to counter the current federal administration’s actions to dismantle the United States refugee program. Additionally, their Helping Hands for Refugees pilot program matches volunteers with refugees and asylees in Westchester County, who need additional support. 

To read the Resolution and Proclamation go to: