MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The problem surrounding Syrian refugees is becoming more and more severe, and many nations aren't sure what to do. One University of Minnesota student with family stuck in Syria thinks the United States needs to do more to find homes for these refugees.
"Seeing the tragedies that unfolded because Syrians demanded freedom has been very heartbreaking," said Suzan Boulad, who has family that has recently fled Syria.
Along with telling stories of relatives fleeing the country over the past few years, Boulad also has photos of her grandmother’s house, which is now simply a pile of rubble.
"Seeing such a familial place turned into a war zone, quite literally. I saw a CNN reporter actually show my family house in bombed-out ruins in 2012. It is a moment of disconnect."
But it was the images of a 2-year-old's body that washed up on shore in Turkey after a failed boat trip to Greece that prompted Boulad to organize a rally at Minnehaha Park over Labor Day weekend to call on the United States to do more to.
"It’s a sense of moral obligation, not only because I am Syrian-American, but I saw the first days of the Syrian revolution -- the potential for better life more stable region and that potential never happened."
Boulad says the announcement that the U.S. will accept 10,000 Syrian refuges next year is a step up from the 1,500 it has allowed to enter the country over the last 4 years, but she says the U.S. also needs to put pressure on European countries to accept more refugees and curb human rights abuses against refugees.
"When I heard the news, It was a glimmer of hope."
Boulad visited Syria a couple of years ago to deliver aid to a school in a refugee camp -- which has since been bombed -- but she hopes people will continue to pay attention to what is going on in her ancestral homeland long after it fades from the headlines.
"I encourage people to not be discouraged or scared by how complicated Syria is," she said. "I hear that all the time. But in reality, it’s a human story and we need all the solidarity and support we can get."