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With a fantastic start to the holiday week, Major Steinberg hosted a press conference to announce a new coalition “ANSAR” to support arriving Afghan refugees alongside MAS-SSF’s own Executive Director Gulshan Yusufzai who was invited to open the press conference for Mayor on Monday, November 22, 2021.  In addition, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, Basim Elkarra, CAIR Sacramento, Ayisha Irfan, Senior Public Policy Manager, Airbnb, Board of Supervisors, and Resettlement Agencies were also present.

The City of Sacramento has been working diligently to do whatever possible to support incoming refugees. MAS-SSF has been just one of the organizations on the frontlines providing support in various capacities, from social services to language and legal support. In the press conference streamed live Monday, November 22, 2021, Major Steinberg discussed the importance of standing together to support our community members, mentioning we are the only country in the world made exclusively of immigrants outside of our Native American population. Each representative emphasized the value of embracing our diverse nation and remembering the core values that make our communities stronger.

MAS-SSF’s Executive Director reflected on her own experiences, saying “The refugee crisis is close to my heart, it seems like yesterday when I arrived in the Sacramento effort… I remember a story from Greek mythology… about pushing a boulder up the hill, and each day it would roll back down again… as a child, I felt this was my experience every day. Every morning would bring a new set of challenges, unpleasant experiences, and little help.” (Gulshan’s speech)

This effort is meant to reduce negative experiences for new refugees such as what was mentioned and ensure our community feels that they can get back on their feet.

What is ANSAR?

American Network of Services for Afghan Refugees of Sacramento Valley (ANSAR), a new group that will help meet the needs of more Afghan families, including connecting them to housing, job opportunities, and other resources.

ANSAR will be connecting Afghan arrivals with the legal, educational, mental health, housing, and social services necessary to reasonably adjust to life in the Sacramento Valley region. Additionally, the organizations that make up the ANSAR will serve as social connectors for newly arrived Afghan individuals and families. ANSAR Sacramento Valley aims to take a collective and holistic approach to provide the legal, advocacy, and wrap-around services needed to support Afghan arrivals in Sacramento.

For more information on ANSAR, visit: ca-ansar.org/sacramento-valley