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People-to-People Syrian Refugee Aid via “Send Sallie to Samos”

By Bob Stone

After terrorists killed 129 people in Paris, 27 US governors refused entry of Syrian war refugees into their states, arguing they were potential terrorists. At the same time, as thousands of refugees come ashore weekly in Greece, many Americans petitioned their government to increase the paltry 1,500 Syrian refugees admitted in the last four years. They called the governors’ action “un-American.”

Lecture and Reception
“Send Sallie to Samos”
Sat, Feb 6, 4pm
Café Santa Ana and Sala Quetzal
La Biblioteca
Reloj 50A
100 pesos
Global Justice, 415 150 0025

It is clear where San Miguel’s own Sallie Latch stands in this debate, arguably a struggle for the souls of many countries, including the United States.

Voting with her feet, Sallie, 83, a painter and 10-year resident of San Miguel, will travel March 8 to the Greek island of Samos to join with Greek and international volunteers assisting refugees fleeing poverty and war, especially in Syria. The United Nations has described the Syrian refugee crisis as the “biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.”

A “Send Sallie to Samos” reception in support of her trip will be held Saturday, February 6, in La Biblioteca’s Cafe Santa Ana. In the Sala Quetzal, Sally will explain the refugee crisis in the Greek context, show videos of volunteers and endorsers, and receive donations. The event is sponsored by the Center for Global Justice.

A swell in Middle East and North African refugees has followed wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and subsequent military interventions in Libya and Syria. “A great injustice has come down on innocent victims of war and oppression and I’m horrified there’s no government help,” says Sallie. “It falls on the Greek people in Samos, Lesbos, and other islands. I’m proud to be part of a campaign of ordinary people.”

With the San Miguel donations Sallie proposes to buy food, diapers, shoes, clothing, and other much needed supplies. She will distribute them to comfort tired, cold, wet, hungry mothers, fathers, and babies arriving by boat. By purchasing supplies in Samos, Sallie aims to help the depressed Greek economy.

“I will work with Samos Volunteers on behalf of San Miguel donors,” she reports. Samos Volunteers is an informal group of Greek and international volunteers advised by, among others, Dr Manos Logothetis, an Athenian. A volunteer sent Sallie this sample of their work: Sally said she plans to keep receipts and report back with a full slide show upon her return.

“Immigration is a global problem,” she holds. “Immigrants passing through San Miguel are almost as needy but as of now no organization is helping them.”

Cliff DuRand, Global Justice co-founder, said, “War is sparking this refugee crisis but free trade is the powder keg. Making capital mobile makes labor precarious. The unemployed everywhere are ready to migrate.”

“Global Justice,” said spokesperson Betsy Bowman, “is proud to stand 100 percent behind Sallie’s courageous act. We are asking for call-in pledges in advance and then for folks to respond at the people-to-people event.”

On Saturday, February 6, the reception at the Café Santa Ana starts at 4pm. It will continue after the program starting in the Sala Quetzal at 4:45pm. Admission is 100 pesos. A cash bar will be accompanied by free snacks. For information and advance pledges, call Global Justice at 415 150 0025 or email


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