Thanks for heroes | Jordanian melds many into one

Luma Mufleh. Link to Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.Decatur, Georgia | In the first in a series of Thanksgiving-timed editorials on immigrant leaders in the Atlanta area—titled “New American Heroes”—the Atlanta Journal-Constitution profiles Jordanian Luma Mufleh (see 6 April). Through soccer and the creation of a refugee-staffed cleaning service, Mufleh, 30, has helped give new arrivals to Atlanta a sense of belonging as well as practical resources toward learning English and navigating a foreign culture. She coaches three boys’ teams (“Fugees”) through the Decatur-DeKalb YMCA, with cultural preconceptions among the newcomers stifling her in starting a girls’ side. Higher-profile youth leagues that shunned Mufleh’s advances earlier now look to her rosters for talent.

Yet there are hurtful tales of racial slurs heard primarily outside metro Atlanta. “In North Georgia, I had a boy ask me what it felt like to coach a team of niggers,” Mufleh says. She replied: “How does your coach feel coaching a bunch of white kids who are sore losers?”

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