Letter: Refugee families motivated, hardworking

Reference Anchorage School District Board candidate Don Smith’s recent comments about refugees: I would like to publicly invite Mr. Smith to join me Tuesdays from 11:30 to 1:00 as a volunteer at the Refugee Center and Immigration Services (RAIS) Education Center in Anchorage. Recent refugees participate in classes to prepare for their first job interview in Alaska, and mock interviews with constructive feedback by professionals are an important part of this program.

If Mr. Smith spent some time with refugee families he’d find them to be motivated, intelligent and hardworking people who will assuredly enrich our economy and culture, not drain our educational resources and diminish school performance as he believes.

Also, Mr. Smith should remember that commodities and objects are “imported;” free human beings “immigrate.” That you’ve conflated the two terms in this context tells us a lot. At least Mr. Smith’s bigoted, xenophobic comments were quite timely. Anchorage voters, run to the polls now to retain Don Smith’s opponent Kameron Perez-Verdia to the school board.

— Laurie Hummel