World Refugee Day Events

A family of singers from Burundi, who arrived in the US via a refugee
camp in Tanzania, performing at a World Refugee Day event.

World Refugee Day is coming up on June 20th, and while you may pass it off as yet another random, made-up commemoration, you’ll be missing out if you do.

It is a time to raise awareness for the plight of the world’s 15 million refugees, sure; but in the United States where so many refugees have been resettled, it is also a day set aside for remembering one’s homeland and rejoicing over safe passage into a new place.

World Refugee Day events in the US are actually pretty much awesome. Many resettlement services will open their doors or rent out space for a celebration. Refugees will bring food from their homelands and share songs and dances from their heritage. Sometimes there are photo exhibits, concerts, and speeches about the refugee plight and the survival stories of displaced people.

Last year my husband and I celebrated over curry and cake with a newly arrived couple from Southeast Asia and a family of extremely happy Iranians who dressed in white and gold gowns and danced around the dinner tables taking pictures.

And the rice! There was so much rice, with each version completely different from the last.

It’s a great day to introduce yourself or your friends and family to the refugee communities in your own town and to learn more about the programs designed to serve them.

Find out what’s going on in your area by contacting your local refugee services group(s). Lutheran and Catholic charities, non-profit refugee organizations, and government resettlement offices could send you in the right direction.

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