Our Mission

The New Colossus


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


Emma Lazarus
November 2, 1883



In 1883, Emma Lazarus’ poem breathed life into a sculpted mass of copper, iron, and steel. Her New Colossus is a mighty woman, the Mother of Exiles. With her lightning torch, she mocks old titans and ancient lands. What they have thrown out, she embraces. In the wary hearts of the homeless and the tempest-tost, she finds the strength of her young country’s soul.

The Statue of Liberty symbolizes America’s promise, to our citizens and the world, that we are a welcoming nation, a place of refuge for those yearning to breathe free. At Freedom House Detroit, our mission is to do the work that backs up that promise:

Freedom House Detroit is a temporary home for indigent survivors of persecution from around the world who are seeking asylum in the United States and Canada. Our mission is to uphold a fundamental American principle, one inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, providing safety for those “yearning to breathe free.” In 2012 we became a formal partner in the Northern Tier Anti-Trafficking Consortium servicing victims of human trafficking.

Guided by our belief that all persons deserve to live free from oppression and to be treated with justice, compassion and dignity, we offer a continuum of care and services to our residents as well as to other refugees in need. We advocate for systemic change that more fully recognizes the rights of asylum seekers.


(References: National Park Service: Statue of Liberty & Emma Lazarus)
(Photo: “Statue of Liberty in New York City, NY, USA” by Natalie Maguire. 3/11/2011. CC BY-SA 2.0. Mods: Cropped. https://flic.kr/p/9xefyp)

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