Georgia Power Employee, Old Fourth Ward Resident Hala Sura Shares family’s Journey as Refugees from Kyrgyzstan to Life in America
Wednesday, May 26th, 2021
Hala Sura, a key account manager at Georgia Power, might have grown up in Memphis, but her story began more than 7,000 miles away in Kyrgyzstan.
At two years old, she left the Central Asian country with her parents and sister in the midst of civil war conflict for a new life in the United States.
“It was a difficult process for my parents,” she said. “They left without much money and not sure where they were going. They just knew they were coming to America.”
As refugees seeking asylum, the Sura family was sent from one camp to another as they waited for their final location.
They ended up settling in Memphis, Tennessee where they had to rely on help from their community to get on their feet while not knowing English or having a steady income.
While the family speaks Kurdish at home, Hala learned English in Kindergarten, through television programs, and with the help of her older sister.
Over the years, she discovered a passion for math, science and working with others. She went on to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where she earned a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Today, Hala is a key account manager in the entertainment and attraction sector for Georgia Power and resides in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood of Atlanta.
While Hala keeps in touch with her family in Kyrgyzstan through WhatsApp, she visits her home country every few years.
“When I go back to see my family, it’s just a different world from my life here,” she said. “It’s great to be a part of my culture. The people there are still resilient from years of war and destruction in the country.”
Today, periods of civil unrest are still common, and citizens and visitors worry about their safety.
Here at home, Hala finds the increase in racism and hate crimes difficult as well.
“No matter the community, what has been going on is very sad,” she said. “But it does make me feel confident that there have been more people speaking up for others and taking their responsibility to intervene and be a voice for others.”
Hala believes that by encouraging everyone to say something when they see something, we can truly make a difference.
Every May, Georgia Power joins the community to celebrate the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. Visit www.GeorgiaPower.com/Community to learn more.