Each year on June 20, World Refugee Day offers Grand Rapids an opportunity to call attention to refugees affected by disasters, armed conflict and other situations of violence.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, an estimated 11.4 million people have been forced to flee their home countries due to conflict or disasters.
In recognition of World Refugee Day, the American Red Cross, Bethany Christian Services, Senior Neighbors Inc, Mars Hill, the West Michigan Refugee Education and Cultural Center, and a number of other refugee assistance agencies join together to recognize the needs of refugees and celebrate their contribution throughout the world.
The day also allows us to reaffirm our commitment to help refugees nearby and from a distance. In our own backyard, American Red Cross chapters work everyday with our Red Cross and Red Crescent partners to restore family links between clients in our local communities and their family members in other countries.
With the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement comprising more than 97 million staff in 186 countries, our global reach to reconnect families is powerful.
World Refugee Day enables us to raise awareness of how the American Red Cross helps refugees who are separated from their loved ones and how other agencies assist refugees with their various services.
When: Saturday, June 19th, from 1:00PM – 5:00PM
Where: Rosa Parks Circle
What: We’ll enjoy music, dance, children’s games, testimonials from refugees, crafts, and food!
Activities: Cultural Performances Arts, Crafts Stalls, Dance, Drumming, Music, International Food Stalls and much more
Performers: Haitian Dance Group, Laura Armenta, Burundian Women’s Choir, Gwaii, Shingi Mavima
Cost: Entrance is FREE! Food samples will be available to buy from local ethnic food vendors, and you will have the opportunity to purchase crafts made by refugees new to West Michigan.
Food: Chez Olga’s (Haitian), Salam Store (Ethiopian), Parsley’s (Mediterranean), Sami’s Gyro (Mediterranean), Angel’s Thai Cafe (Thai)
Please visit www.refugeeday.com for more information.
[Photo credit: Red Cross]