“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” — Henry Ford
The 2016 presidential election gripped the nation. The race to the White House was broadcasted in American homes amidst infamous political scandals and scalding accusations between political parties. Throughout the election, modern race wars waged on throughout the country as the civil war overseas in Syria continued into its fifth consecutive year. It seemed as if all the hatred and sorrow had leaked from our television screens and seeped its way into our living rooms.
An immigrant is defined as a person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent residence. A refugee is defined as a person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country, as in time of political upheaval, war, etc. While one chooses to move to pursue a better life, the latter has to move in order to survive.
Despite the great divide amongst American people and the isolationist ideology behind Executive Order 13769, businesses around the world have taken it upon themselves to provide aid and fund relief programs to refugees seeking asylum.
While differences and divisions riddle the media, here are three big brand American companies taking it one step further by hiring refugees and continuously reminding us that the people united will never be defeated.
In 1994, Hamdi Ulukaya traveled from the Erzincan Province in Turkey, where his family made cheese and yogurt, to the United States on a student visa to study English at Adelphi University. Ulukaya’s family led a semi-nomadic life herding their flocks. In 2005, Ulukaya founded Chobani, LLC. In 2007, the brand was successfully launched with Ulukaya making a point to hire 30 percent of the total workforce in his yogurt plants to be refugees.
All of Chobani’s employees have full health care, a company sponsored retirement plan, and are paid well above minimum wage.
In 2015, Ulukaya visited refugee camps in Greece as tens of thousands of Syrian refugees entered Europe through Turkey. In the same year, he established Tent Foundation, an organization dedicated to creating innovative approaches to solve the world’s worst refugee crisis since World War II. Ulukaya also signed a pledge to give the majority of his personal wealth to end the global refugee crisis. He has since urged other CEOs to join his campaign.
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) November 2, 2016
On January 29, 2017, two days after President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13769, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz responded by writing a public letter on the company’s website to his employees. Schultz announced his plan to hire 10,000 refugees over the course of five years, in the 75 countries around the world that does business with Starbucks.
Schultz made a similar promise in 2013 when he pledged to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2018. Starbucks has since hired more than 8,800 veterans and military spouses in less than four years.
“Without question we will reach the 10,000 goal early, and we will keep going,” the Armed Forces Network states.
The coffee chain has also announced plans to open stores and hire employees in at least 15 diverse, low to medium income communities by 2018. On April 29, 2016 Ferguson, Missouri saw the launch of its first Starbucks.
— CNN (@CNN) January 30, 2017
Chipotle Mexican Grill has been a partner of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), an international non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to humanitarian relief, since 2009. Chipotle created the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation in 2011 that provides grants to organizations committed to making the world a better place through food. More than half of the refugees who resettle in the United States come from agricultural backgrounds.
Chipotle has continuously funded programs from the IRC to teach farmers and refugees how to use their skills in the United States marketplace. Chipotle not only funds important programs such as IRC’s New Roots Program and the MicroProducer Academy but also buys produce directly grown from refugees. The fast food company also provides job training for refugees and hires between 70-75 percent of applicants referred by the IRC.
— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) May 2, 2015