Guardian Group Discusses “Unsettled”

Humanists & Non-Theists Present a Discussion of
“How this UU Community Helped Settle the Unsettled”
Sunday, August 16
1:00 p.m.

The Humanists and Non-Theists of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco present a discussion of the Guardian Group and the Documentary “Unsettled”.

Junior, Galen, and Jen capturing a moment.

In 2011 members of the Society acted on a request from the Unitarian Universalists United Nations Office to help gay and lesbian refugees settle in San Francisco. We were asked to assist newly arrived refugees with navigating US institutions such as MUNI, DMV, and Costco for the eight months the US government pays refugee benefits.

Our commitment and our influence on these new city residents turned out to be much deeper, longer, and important to both the refugees and our volunteers. Instead of simply decoding US bureaucracy we became key emotional, social, and financial support for these new San Franciscans.

Galen Workman, one of the original UUSF Guardian Group mentors, will talk about his experience helping refugees and how it felt to be filmed by a documentary film maker for three years while working with one client.

Galen was a primary contact Junior Mayema whose story is told in Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America. This award-winning documentary is streaming for free now through August 20 here.
The film is an excellent, realistic, and engaging look at who refugees really are and what they face when they arrive in the Bay Area.

View the movie now and join the Humanists and Non-Theists Zoom discussion Sunday, August 16 at 1pm!

Please join us by Zoom:
Meeting ID: 862 2616 3154
Passcode: 288403

We Are Stirring with Pride… and Looking for Housing

The Guardian Group has not been active this year because we haven’t heard of refugees coming to the SF area. But, this week we have been presented with two refugees looking for assistance in SF. If we can find housing for at least one of these people, we will give serious consideration of reactivating the group… Maybe it was the combination of the movie Unsettled being screened and general Pride activism has gotten people to look at our website. Anyway…

Afghanistan FlagThe most urgent, verified need is for housing for a newly arrived refugee from Afghanistan. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and emailed and called usto see if we could help find SF/Bay Area housing for their guy. He is really interested in connecting with local LGBT people, and actually sounds like someone we might consider help mentoring,… but first he needs a place to stay! Here’s what we know about him:

“X” identifies as LGBTQ and atheist. He is from Afghanistan and has been in the country for less than a month. He is around 30 years old We are currently looking for housing for him and he is open to be able to meet other volunteers as well as look for roommates.

The IRC tried putting him in a refugee house where there were other Afghans, but his ethnic group was not too friendly to him because he’s gay. So, they’ve moved him to temporary places like cheap hotels, etc.  But even a cheap hotel is too expensive for very long.

He sounds like a kick…. We have some additional information at we aren’t publishing that really makes him sound like an interesting, worthwhile person.

Please let us know if you or anyone you know have a place we could offer for free/very low cost housing for at least a month?

This guy isn’t an official Guardian Group client, but we would be willing to consider reactivating and finding mentors for support, etc. if we can find him a place to stay.  Please ask yourself, your family, your friends!

If you have any ideas, please contact us.

UNSETTLED Screens in SF, LA, SLC… and beyond!

UNSETTLED: SEEKING REFUGE IN AMERICA is hitting the film festivals, showing why refugees and asylum seekers really come to the United States. The documentary follows 4 newcomers as they work to find stability in San Francisco.

One of the Guardian Group’s clients, Junior Mayema, is featured in the film which also includes a couple of our group’s volunteers as they work with Junior. The photo below is from the film and shows Galen Workman (on the left) and Melanie Nathan greeting Junior as he arrives at the San Francisco Airport from South Africa.

Galen Workman and Melanie Nathan greet Junior Mayema at SFO as he arrives from South Africa.

UNSETTLED is powerful, depressing, and hopeful. See it!

Tickets for the San Francisco Frameline Pride screening — Sunday, June 23 at 1 pm — are still available!

A trailer for the film and additional information is available on the documentary film website. That site also has a SEE IT page telling when the film is coming to festivals around the world.

“Unsettled” Hits the Castro Theater June 23rd at 1 pm

Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America returns to San Francisco as part of the Frameline queer film festival. It’s scheduled to be shown at 1 pm, Sunday, June 23 at the historic Castro Theater. Following the screening there will be a panel discussion “Troubled Sanctuary: LGBTQ+ Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Immigrants in the US.”

Unsettled documents the fight of two lesbians and two gay men to flee the persecution of their home countries and settle in San Francisco. Junior Mayema, a client of the Guardian Group, is one of the film’s subjects.

Come and see this documentary that shows what the Guardian Group does and who we help!.

Tickets starting May 28th.

 filmmakers, subjects, helpers, and friends at the documentary's director's preview in April, 2019.
UNSETTLED: SEEKING REFUGE IN AMERICA filmmakers, subjects, helpers, and friends at the documentary’s director’s preview in April, 2019. photo by © Lydia Daniller

Documentary Features a Guardian Group Client

Filmmaker Tom Shepherd (left) with Guardian Group client Junior Mayema
Filmmaker Tom Shepherd (left) with Guardian Group client Junior Mayema

“Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America” premieres as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival Wednesday, April 17th at 7:30 pm at the Victoria Theatre in San Francisco (it shows again Thursday at 8 pm in Oakland).

The film powerfully and heartbreakingly details the challenging process that LGBTQ refugees must go through to find safety and security while starting over in the US. One of the newcomers featured in the movie is a client of the Guardian Group, and a couple of his volunteer helpers appear on screen.

The inspiring new documentary profiles four people who have come to San Francisco to save their own lives. Over the course of this unforgettable group portrait, Subhi (from Syria), Junior (from Congo and our Guardian Group client), and Mari and Cheyenne (from Angola) experience roadblocks and triumphs as they reflect on their respective histories and try to create a home for themselves in an environment that is not always welcoming.

This important film shows what real refugees and asylum seekers are like, contrasted to the mythical boogeymen created by the President.

The documentary is showing as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival. (See their site for ticketing and more information.) 

The leads and filmmakers of "Unsettled" Junior Mayema -- in the red, white, and blue cowboy hat -- is a client of the Guardian Group.
The leads and filmmakers of “Unsettled” Junior Mayema — in the red, white, and blue cowboy hat — is a client of the Guardian Group.