Chelsea Event Looks to Raise Awareness and Support for Washtenaw’s Refugees


At first glance, refugee resettlement may seem like an issue in overseas countries, events we only learn about from the national and international news. The Chelsea Human Rights Commission hopes to change that perception.

The CHRC is presenting a panel discussion on Nov 17 titled “The Refugee Resettlement in Washtenaw County.” The event is co-sponsored by Chelsea District Library, Faith in Action, and One World One Family.

“The panel will focus on issues facing refugees in our area, including housing, transportation, employment, and family wellbeing,” said Chelsea Councilmember Tony Iannelli in describing the event to the City Council. “Presenters will discuss the refugee resettlement process and ways in which Chelsea residents can be involved.”

In its Fall 2022 newsletter, the resettlement organization, Washtenaw Refugee Welcome, shows what could be surprising numbers that bring the need right to our doorstep.

WRW states, “Individuals resettled in Washtenaw County so far this year have been from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Guatemala, Honduras, Afghanistan, and Ukraine.”

Regarding the war in Ukraine, WRW reports that of the millions fleeing the country, 100,000 have applied for resettlement in the U.S. Of those refugees, 3,334 have applied for Michigan, with 80% seeking southeast Michigan. There have been 71 applications for Washtenaw County.

WRW states that 449 refugees have been resettled in Michigan so far this year. The panel discussion hopes to raise awareness and encourage people to lend their support to those being resettled.

Panelists for the discussion include Mira Sussman, Director of Resettlement Programs for Jewish Family Services, and Joyce Deren from Washtenaw Refugee Welcome. The panel will be moderated by Susan Morel-Samuels, Chairperson for Chelsea’s Human Rights Commission.

The panel discussion is scheduled for Nov 17, 6:00-7:30 pm, in the McKune Room of the Chelsea District Library.

Questions in advance are encouraged and can be emailed to

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