Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Meet Kirk Johnson

As we honor World Refugee Day, the EPIC Ground Truth Project is excited to share part 1 of our in-depth interview with a rising champion for the human rights and needs of Iraq's most vulnerable refugees.

From January to December 2005, Kirk Johnson worked tirelessly with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help rebuild war-torn Iraq -- first as an information officer at USAID/Iraq’s Baghdad headquarters, and later as USAID’s first regional coordinator for reconstruction in Fallujah. When a near-fatal accident during a vacation prevented him from returning to Iraq, he began to write about his experience and soon became a passionate advocate for America’s responsibility to protect Iraq’s most vulnerable refugees, including former colleagues and others at risk for their affiliation with U.S. government agencies.

In Part 1 of our interview, we talk with Kirk about his time with USAID, what he learned along the way, and his recommendations for going forward. Later this week, we will release Part 2, examining Kirk's current efforts to protect and resettle Iraqis who are at extreme risk for being affiliated with U.S. efforts in Iraq.

Kirk Johnson's story exemplifies the difference one person can make in the lives of the Iraqi people. For World Refugee Day, rally with EPIC, Kirk and hundreds of EPIC supporters by sending a letter to your Members of Congress, urging them to do more to assist and protect Iraqi refugees. With nearly 1,000 already delivered, we are well on our way to reaching our goal of 3,000 constituent letters.

It's not too late to send your personalized letters to Congress. Take action to protect Iraqi refugees right now.


jt said...

Seems like a good guy. We could sure use more like him. Made my call for ya, Emily and submitted my letter the other day!

Emily Stivers said...

Thanks, JT!


Anonymous said...

Let's face it, either some people just can't take the time to send an email or believe it or not, some confuse refugees with the immigration issues. There are some people who just don't want anyone else coming here, regardless of reasons.

Erik K. Gustafson said...

I agree. Here in the U.S., we should not be turning our backs on a long-standing American tradition of helping the victims of international crises. What is worse is the fact that our country helped create the Iraq crisis, and now we are failing to do enough to aid Iraqi families who are suffering the consequences. It is an honor to join Americans like Kirk Johnson who remind us of our duties as a world power and act to make our nation a "more perfect union." In response to the growing interest in Kirk's background and story, we have just posted an extended version of Part 1 of our interview at http://www.epic-usa.org/GroundTruth. Part 2 of our interview will be release in coming days and will focus on Kirk's work to protect Iraqis who are now at extreme risk for having helped us. Part 2 will also include stories of some of the Iraqis he is working to protect.

Anonymous said...

I think that the story of the Iraqi's in trouble because of helping us needs to be more publicized. Even those with a bias for taking any more refugees in can see the need to help those friendly toward us. Not that they all aren't in need but I'm talking about breaking down barriers in some hard hearts.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment made previous to mine. Americans should be committed to breaking down barriers: cultural barriers, religious barriers, even language barriers. Knowledge of this situation along with other situations worldwide will increase the ease at which we will be able to progress towards helping those in need and providing a safe haven for people of all cultures to congregate and make the best decisions for every conflict.We must always think before we act and maybe if we had thought more rationally in the beginning with the help of many minds instead of a single mind (our own) we would be in a better situation today. I hope that everyone reading this at least takes the time to learn more, the key to the right decisions lies in the knowledge of the facts of the situation. I would like to personally thank EPIC for its efforts to give people the facts.

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