A WNYC radio story, “Uprooted, Yet Again: 150 Resettled Refugees In New Jersey Displaced By Tropical Storm Ida,” highlighted Anthropology Professor Kate McCaffrey’s ongoing engagement with resettled refugee families in Northern New Jersey.
Thirty people in New Jersey died in the catastrophic flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. Four of those victims lived at the Oakwood Plaza apartments in Elizabeth, a hub for recently arrived refugees in the region. Ida’s damage was so extensive that the entire Oakwood complex was evacuated. In one night, over 600 residents became homeless including 33 refugee families hailing from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, and Sri Lanka.
Over the past six years, Dr. McCaffrey has drawn on her training as an anthropologist to welcome and integrate resettled families into New Jersey, pushing back against Islamophobia and anti-immigrant rhetoric. The non-profit organization she co-founded with Melina Macall, The United Tastes of America, has launched an appeal to raise emergency funds to assist displaced families.
Moving forward, The United Tastes is a member of the NJ Coalition for Afghan refugees and will work to develop programs to welcome and integrate new Afghan neighbors in the Garden State.