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Idealists in Action | August 14, 2020

Lizzy Cooke profile image

Lizzy Cooke

4 creative ways to support immigrants and refugees
plus, new job opportunities that make a difference.
Hi there,

I’m proud to be a New Yorker, where I share the city with over 3 million immigrants. The presence of people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds makes our city a unique, diverse, and magical place to live. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has hit our immigrant communities especially hard, so it’s time for all of us to step up and give back, however we can.

Whether you can spare a few minutes or a few hours, there are lots of ways you can help immigrants right now! By signing up for a virtual volunteer opportunity, or even following an activist online, you’re making a difference in the lives of those who have been particularly impacted by everything that's going on right now. Let’s step up and show our immigrant friends that they’re welcome, supported, and that they truly belong 💜

Waving from NYC,


It’s important that we all do our part to stand in solidarity with immigrant families and communities. This begins with paying attention to factors that make these communities particularly vulnerable, including: 

  1. Excessive exposure. From health care to cleaning roles, immigrants are overrepresented in frontline positions, amplifying their exposure to the virus.

  2. Economic vulnerability. Immigrants are alsooverrepresented in industries like retail and hospitality, which have had to lay off and furlough large numbers of employees. 

  3. Lack of access to safety-nets and benefits. Many, because of their immigration status, are not entitled to unemployment insurance and do not have access to federal relief programs.

Finish the article on our Ideas for Action blog. 

📣 Advocate for children who have been separated during immigration/deportation proceedings. For a few hours a week, virtually visit the kids and help them work through obstacles and tough decisions. 

🎨 Use your design skills to create illustrated COVID health and safety materials for refugee children.

☀️ Help run a summer leadership program for Mexican and Latin American immigrant children, youth, and families in the South Bronx. 

📚 Work with international students to help them explore options for continuing their education in the United States, given the constantly shifting immigration policies.

woman delivering food

Arielle Kandel founded the organization New Women New Yorkers to help immigrant women pursue workforce & professional development opportunities. 

kid smiling

Shula Marks and her husband have been hosting Tade and his wife Aisha, two refugees from Ethiopia, since March. Shula (who was raised by refugee parents) connected with them through Refugees At Home.

man donating blood

Jorida Devish (right) started a program to help fellow migrants adjust to life in Italy and share their experiences. She describes the act
of gathering around a meal as
“a moment of liberation.”

woman in jester hat

Rosey Sullivan from Dallas is the brains behind the Undocumented Workers Fund of Dallas, which seeks to financially support undocumented restaurant workers during the pandemic. 


AsylumConnect is a tech nonprofit that connects LGBTQ+ asylum seekers with resources for LGBTQ+ affirming housing, lawyers, and other direct service providers in United States, Canada, and Mexico. Their robust directory provides support for people fleeing persecution due to sexual orientation and gender identity.  

Current jobs on Idealist:

Part-time Program Manager

Part-time Tech Lead

Find work that supports immigrants and refugees on 

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Lizzy Cooke profile image

Lizzy Cooke

Lizzy Cooke is the editor of the Idealists in Action newsletter. She also builds the Idealist community through social media and marketing. Outside of work you can find her reading, running, or walking dogs for her local animal shelter in Brooklyn.