It was evident Sunday afternoon that many Oklahomans, no matter their religion, race, nationality or even age, all have empathy for citizens forced to leave their homes because of fighting in Syria.
A gathering full of religious leaders in downtown Oklahoma City stripped away the sometimes disagreeable views to pray for Syrian refugees.
The event at Bicentennial Park was organized by Oklahoma Conference of Churches, the Interfaith Alliance and the Dialogue Institute, and the Islamic Council of Oklahoma. It featured Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh speakers, among others, who shed light on the crisis overseas.
“Imagine one day you woke up and there was a bombing near your house and your house gets destroyed,” said Bill Tabbernee, executive director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches. “Soldiers are coming and you’re not sure whether they’re going to kill you or rape you, and the best thing to do is just to leave.”
The chaos in and around the country has already killed hundreds of thousands. It's the kind of colossal news that has spread even to first graders like Dorothy Cusack from Norman.
“There’s a war in Syria. Because there are a whole bunch of Sunni Muslims who don’t get any care from the president because he’s a really, really, really bad president,” she said. “Anybody who does not support him in Syria doesn’t get anything in return.”
Cusack heard about this on the radio and told her dad she wanted to do something. So they put together a scrapbook of sorts of her adventures on a vacation.
Copies are now for sale, benefiting charities that help survivors searching for refuge from the war.
She plans to donate funds from this to Doctors Without Borders and the American Refugee Committee.
“They’ll use the money to give people in Syria stuff like medical care, food, water and shelter,” Cusack said.
It's a sentiment shared by many Oklahomans from all walks of life; a heartfelt desire to give those suffering some dignity.
“Even though I don’t know what it’s like, I know that I should help,” Cusack told News 9.