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PRESS RELEASE: to all media outlets

FROM: Beth Lutjen, Executive Director, Local Colors

November 20, 2015

Local Colors is a not-for-profit organization whose mission it is to embrace and celebrate the cultures represented by the immigrants in our region. We believe that our differing backgrounds bring a wide range of talents and perspectives to our valley, and that makes Roanoke a more vibrant and better place to live. We welcome anyone who would come to live here and help us build a better community. For over twenty-five years, Local Colors has been a key driver in developing the diverse and welcoming community that we are proud to call home.

Local Colors will continue to support the diverse ethnic populations in the Roanoke Valley. As advocates for the local immigrant community, we will continue to work with all immigrants regardless of race, religion, or country of origin. We feel it is important to make clear that the recent unfortunate call to “suspend and delay any further Syrian refugee assistance” is not in keeping with the mission and values of Local Colors. And it is our hope that the immigrant community, especially the well-established Syrian population in Roanoke, will continue to look to Local Colors as a trusted partner in efforts in community building.

To further the mission of Local Colors in supporting the immigrant community, Local Colors, under the direction of Beth Lutjen, is establishing an International Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from our immigrant populations. This will create a vehicle for more interaction and communication between our diverse residents and the greater Roanoke community in an effort to better serve and promote understanding.

Fear often leads individuals, groups and even countries to make short-sighted decisions with inhumane consequences. Our guiding principles of Understanding, Love and Respect allow us to move past fear to do Humanitarian work that preserves human dignity and often serves the most vulnerable among us. Local Colors will continue to follow these principles and we encourage the community not to follow examples from our past that were guided or driven by fear.

Local Colors has enjoyed overwhelming support for our mission for over twenty-five years, and we thank the people of our region for their generosity. Anyone who would like to work with Local Colors for the causes of supporting and celebrating our diverse cultural community with mutual respect and unity, is encouraged to contact our office or visit our website (www.localcolors.org).