After 23 governors announced they would not allow Syrians to resettle in their states, Oregon's Gov. Kate Brown tweeted that "clearly" Oregon would continue to accept refugees.
Although governors have no formal role in the matter, Brown's November affirmation meant something to Som Subedi. The Bhutanese man knew how Syrians must be feeling. He moved to Oregon in 2008 with no more than $10 and a plastic bag containing his bachelor's degree and government-issued ID.
When Oregon's first Syrian family arrived in December, Subedi began pulling together a group to thank Brown personally. Syria is just the latest in a long line of refugee crises. This week, 40 people, born in 23 countries, caravanned south from East Portland to Salem.
"We all know that pain," said Raju Subedi, a Bhutanese man of no relation. "We know how we healed."
Resettlement agencies such as Lutheran Community Services and Catholic Charities, using federal money, help new refugees for the first eight months. In 2008, when the first Bhutanese people arrived, Som Subedi realized they needed more than a nonprofit's aid. They needed a community.
Now, he and Raju Subedi meet new refugees at the airport. They show them the best places to buy rice, then invite them for regular potlucks and a taste of home.
A 27-year-old Afghani man, Jamshid Sediqi, said it was Som Subedi who first showed him the way in 2014.
"He picked me up at the airport," Sediqi said. "He was late, actually. I didn't trust him because the country I came from was so crazy. You don't just trust people. And he showed up, and he didn't look like an American."
In preparation for speaking to the governor, Som Subedi unfolded his testimony to read it one more time as Raju Subedi drove. He and 10 others would each have one minute to share their stories with Brown.
How to boil down eight years of pain, the immense joy at now owning a car and a house?