Refugees arriving in Scotland will get this front page greeting.

Immediately following the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, refugees from Syria were thrown into the spotlight.

And, in many ways, unfairly so.


Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Speculation began swirling that those involved in the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks had crossed into France amongst the wave of Syrian refugees escaping conflict.

This line of thinking prompted harsh anti-refugee rhetoric across Western Europe. In the U.S., presidential hopefuls have said barring entry for refugees — even children under the age of 5 — is the only way to go. Dozens of U.S. governors are refusing to accept refugees into their states (although, it doesn't look like they'll be successful in doing so).

A Scottish newspaper, however, is taking a much different, and more empathetic approach.

And many people are applauding the outlet's message.

The Nov. 17, 2015 edition of The National isn't shying away from its take on refugees on the day the first Syrians are set to arrive in Scotland: You're welcome here.

In an editorial on the subject, the newspaper called out political "bigots" in Scotland who are attempting to "poison minds against the Syrian refugees."

"They will not succeed in doing so," the outlet wrote.

"Their blatant and cynical attempt to capitalize on a tragedy will disgust the vast majority of Scots, who understand that refugees from Syria are fleeing the very same terrorism of which our French neighbors were targets last weekend."

The tweet with The National's front page has spread like wildfire, garnering more than 2,300 retweets in a matter of hours.

As President Obama reminded us, it's vital we remember that refugees are those trying to escape the violence — not perpetuate it.

During a nearly hour-long press conference at the G-20 summit in Turkey on Monday, Obama reiterated that many refugees are, in fact, the victims of terrorism — not terrorist sympathizers.

"The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism, the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife."

Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, the Obama administration has remained steadfast in accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. in 2016 — a drastic increase from previous years.

In his G-20 summit statements, the president also made sure to point out that radical extremists — not Muslims — were responsible for the attacks in France. It's vital to differentiate the two.

"When I hear folks say, 'Maybe we should just admit the Christians, but not the Muslims,' when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who's fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks, themselves, come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that's shameful. That's not American. That's not who we are. We don't have religious tests to our compassion."

Terrorism can be a scary and disorienting thing, and it can lead to irrational reactions to what's happening here and abroad.

That's all the more reason why we should all keep The National's front page in mind and make sure to prioritize compassion over fear in the months ahead.

After all, we're all in this together.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

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This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


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