Sameer: "As Thousands asked for their rights, we felt a sense of community and belonging we never felt before"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 08/09/2019 - 18:14
Sameer, TPS Holder

Sameer, a pseudonym, is considered an “emerging leader” among the 7,000 Syrian Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders in the United States today. In the last seven years, Sameer attained an MBA, passed the U.S. pharmaceutical exam, had three children, and obtained TPS for him and his family. Sameer did all of this while trying to keep his family safe, healthy, and free.

Sameer’s journey started in 2012, in Aleppo, Syria. Sameer was newly married, and his wife just gave birth to their first child. As a pharmacist in Syria, Sameer had a good life, a stable income, and lived upper to middle-class. Sameer couldn’t be happier, but he wanted more; he wanted freedom.

By 2012, more Syrians began demanding their freedom around the country. As the revolution moved into its second year, Aleppo quickly began to feel the impact. The friendly protests, however, quickly escalated to a brutal conflict. Having access to medicines and using his expertise, Sameer went to the protests and later helped injured protestors.

“I was watching and participating in some of the most beautiful experiences you could ever imagine. This was the revolution of the people! This was freedom! Everything was just peaceful and empowering,” Sameer recounting his initial days of the revolution.

“As thousands asked for their rights, with just flowers and water bottles, we felt a sense of community and belonging that I never felt before,” Sameer said. He continued, “It was not until the military came and turned our white flags into red ones.”

The protests soon turned bloody, and people began carrying weapons to protect themselves from military action. That is the moment Sameer knew he had to leave. Soon after the bombs started dropping. As the first few bombs fell over Aleppo, Sameer watched his family in fear. Sameer told his wife to pack their bags and he bought them a flight to Romania since she had family there. His wife and daughter were on the flight the next day, and that flight was one of the last flights that left Aleppo. After a few weeks, Sameer joined them in Romania, spending most of his life-savings to make ends meet.

Later Sameer thought Romania would not be a good place for him and his family, especially since he did not know the language. So Sameer made a decision to go to the U.S. in February of 2013. Sameer believed the U.S. would provide him and his growing family the protection and safety they needed.

When Sameer arrived in the U.S., he applied for TPS with his family. Sameer also studied for the equivalency pharmacy board exam in Texas and, luckily passed quickly. He was hired at a pharmacy and began working in September 2014. After only a few months, Sameer was quickly promoted into a leadership position and began managing several different branches. Today he is recognized as an “emerging leader” at his company. In addition to working fulltime, Sameer attained an MBA with a concentration in Health Organization Management from Texas Tech University in 2017.

Sameer is happy to have TPS as an option for him and his family. Since 2014, his wife gave birth to two more children. Luckily for them, however, they are American citizens. Sameer said, “America is one of the greatest countries in the world! The past few weeks, my family and I have been so worried whether TPS would be renewed or not. But there were so many American organizations and people who supported us! When we heard that TPS got renewed, we were so overjoyed!

On August 1, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security announced that TPS for Syrians would be renewed for another 18 months. Sameer and his family will continue to live in Texas on TPS until Syria is safe enough to return.

Sameer, a pseudonym, is considered an “emerging leader” among the 7,000 Syrian Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders in the United States today. In the last seven years, Sameer attained an MBA, passed the U.S. pharmaceutical exam, had three children, and obtained TPS for him and his family. Sameer did all of this while trying to keep his family safe, healthy, and free.

Sameer’s journey started in 2012, in Aleppo, Syria. Sameer was newly married, and his wife just gave birth to their first child. As a pharmacist in Syria, Sameer had a good life, a stable income, and lived upper to middle-class. Sameer couldn’t be happier, but he wanted more; he wanted freedom.

By 2012, more Syrians began demanding their freedom around the country. As the revolution moved into its second year, Aleppo quickly began to feel the impact. The friendly protests, however, quickly escalated to a brutal conflict. Having access to medicines and using his expertise, Sameer went to the protests and later helped injured protestors.

“I was watching and participating in some of the most beautiful experiences you could ever imagine. This was the revolution of the people! This was freedom! Everything was just peaceful and empowering,” Sameer recounting his initial days of the revolution.

“As thousands asked for their rights, with just flowers and water bottles, we felt a sense of community and belonging that I never felt before,” Sameer said. He continued, “It was not until the military came and turned our white flags into red ones.”

The protests soon turned bloody, and people began carrying weapons to protect themselves from military action. That is the moment Sameer knew he had to leave. Soon after the bombs started dropping. As the first few bombs fell over Aleppo, Sameer watched his family in fear. Sameer told his wife to pack their bags and he bought them a flight to Romania since she had family there. His wife and daughter were on the flight the next day, and that flight was one of the last flights that left Aleppo. After a few weeks, Sameer joined them in Romania, spending most of his life-savings to make ends meet.

Later Sameer thought Romania would not be a good place for him and his family, especially since he did not know the language. So Sameer made a decision to go to the U.S. in February of 2013. Sameer believed the U.S. would provide him and his growing family the protection and safety they needed.

When Sameer arrived in the U.S., he applied for TPS with his family. Sameer also studied for the equivalency pharmacy board exam in Texas and, luckily passed quickly. He was hired at a pharmacy and began working in September 2014. After only a few months, Sameer was quickly promoted into a leadership position and began managing several different branches. Today he is recognized as an “emerging leader” at his company. In addition to working full-time, Sameer attained an MBA with a concentration in Health Organization Management from Texas Tech University in 2017.

Sameer is happy to have TPS as an option for him and his family. Since 2014, his wife gave birth to two more children. Luckily for them, however, they are American citizens. Sameer said, “America is one of the greatest countries in the world! The past few weeks, my family and I have been so worried whether TPS would be renewed or not. But there were so many American organizations and people who supported us! When we heard that TPS got renewed, we were so overjoyed!

On August 1, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security announced that TPS for Syrians would be renewed for another 18 months. Sameer and his family will continue to live in Texas on TPS until Syria is safe enough to return.

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