September 23, 2021
CAMBRIA TORTORELLI, executive director of International Institute of Los Angeles (IILA), an LA-based refugee services nonprofit, said the kind of proactive engagement she saw from locals, churches, other religious groups, and businesses has been “unprecedented in terms of the numbers, intensity, and scope—certainly unprecedented within the last 20 years.”
People called, emailed, then called and emailed IILA again offering spare rooms, furniture, household items, transportation, and time. The local Afghan American community, many of them refugees themselves with friends and family stuck in Afghanistan, formed teams to pick up Afghan refugees arriving at the airport, shop for groceries, and take them sightseeing to Hollywood and the Southern California beaches.
“We’re doing what we should be doing,” Tortorelli said. “That’s very encouraging and restores my faith in humanity. I think the vast majority of people, in this country and around the world, have good hearts.”