by Beth O’Connell

Ever since the 2015 refugee crisis throughout Europe, when thousands of people were sleeping on the streets of Paris, UUFP has been a member of a community-wide task force that formed to coordinate efforts to help the new arrivals. The AAWE Community-Wide Task Force (started by the Association of American Women in Europe) has brought together anglophone groups in Paris, including the American Church, the American Cathedral, the American School, the non-profit Every Child’s a Gem, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris. It has been a great venue for UUFP to participate in a joint effort for social action and has raised the profile of UUs in Paris.

As more people have learned about the task force, other institutions have joined the effort, including the legendary American Library in Paris, established in 1920. The library has begun a special program for refugees/asylum seekers, helping them to use the library’s resources and offering an English conversation group.

This past summer, when EUU Social Action asked fellowships to submit requests for donations to associations in their community, UUFP asked for €270 to support two adult memberships to the library. EUU’s Social Action chairs, Jodi Stolzenbach and Diana Smith, agreed this was a worthwhile project, and UUFP received the funds to sponsor two asylum seekers—many of whom have English as their second language—who now have access to the rich resources of the library. Check out the website for more information:

We will keep you posted on other task force activities, including our current plans to hold a second Festival of Cultures in the spring.