The Refugee Response/Joe Meno Virtual Benefit
Joe Meno, the author of Between Everything and Nothing: The Journey of Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal and the Quest for Asylum will discuss his book during a virtual event on Wednesday, July 28th at 7 p.m. All proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit The Refugee Response, a Cleveland non-profit that empowers resettled families to grow roots, supporting them in becoming engaged, self-sufficient and contributing members of their new communities.
Between Everything and Nothing is the incredible true story of Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal's journey from the unjust political system of their homeland in Ghana through the chaos of the United States' failing immigration system.
Publicly, Seidu Mohammed was a promising young athlete playing at the highest level of professional football in Ghana. Privately, he was a closeted bisexual in a country where any form of homosexuality is illegal, and mere accusations lead to public beatings and harassment by other citizens and the police.
Engaged to be married to a young woman he loved, and closer to his father than ever before, Razak Iyal thought his life was turning around. But when his father unexpectedly died, a familial strife over his inheritance turned into a much more serious, and dangerous, firsthand encounter with political corruption in Ghana that forced him to flee the country in fear of his life.
Somehow, the two men journeyed separately around the world and found each other at the same Minneapolis bus stop on a cold December afternoon, where they decided to make a break for asylum in Canada together. Their harrowing, heart-pounding trek through snow and subzero temperatures toward the border is expertly woven through the stories that led them both to this point
Joe Meno is a fiction writer and journalist who lives in Chicago. He is the winner of the Nelson Algren Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Great Lakes Book Award and was a finalist for the Story Prize. The bestselling author of seven novels and two short story collections, he is a professor in the English and creative writing department at Columbia College in Chicago.
About Refugee Response:
Historically, the United States has welcomed refugees into the country recognizing their justifiable fear of persecution in their own country. Refugees legally enter the U.S. seeking freedom, peace and opportunity for themselves and their families. After resettlement, they start their new lives with limited resources knowing that they must transition from their past and the lives they once knew.
Resettled refugees are expected to acculturate, acquire English language skills and become self-sufficient within three months of arriving—a daunting task for many refugees. The Refugee Response (TRR) was formed to help refugees adjust to life in Northeast Ohio. Through unique programs, including the Ohio City Farm and Karibu CLE (a soccer and arts summer camp) The Refugee Response is working to empower our area's growing newcomer population, particularly those here between three months and five years by providing opportunities for them to learn the skills they need to succeed in their new communities.