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The 2013 World Refugee Day celebration in Syracuse will be on Saturday, June 22 – the event begins at 10:00 a.m. with a parade traveling from the Northside to the destination Hanover Square Jamboree. Stay tuned for more details…
Syracuse Celebrates World Refugee Day on June 23, 2012
World Refugee Day (WRD) in Syracuse was observed on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in downtown Syracuse. If you were there on June 23, you saw an amazing parade of color walking from the Northside to City Hall. Former refugees from countries all over the world, who now call Syracuse their home, gathered together in traditional dress, with their home country flags (and more than a few American flags!) to walk, sing, drum and dance. Over a dozen countries were represented – from groups such as Vietnam, Cambodia, South Sudan, and Bosnia who have lived in Syracuse for many years. Refugees from other countries who have been here only a few years, such as Iraq, Burma and Bhutan were also represented.
Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, a staff member from Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle’s office, and representatives from the refugee communities spoke on the steps of City Hall. A ceremonial raising of the United Nations flag was also performed for participants.
After the ceremony, the festival in Hanover Square began, with cultural cuisine available from Burma, Bhutan, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia and West Africa. Performers from over a dozen countries and ethnic groups shared their culture with dance and song.
As is life for people who were once refugees, observance of WRD is a mix of joyful celebration and sadness. The day was a chance to learn their stories and their culture. It was a chance to look back at their past, but also to look forward to their life in Syracuse.
This celebration is also a chance for the communities that walk with new refugee families to come together, plan and organize the event. The primary WRD event coordinating organizations were InterFaith Works of Central New York, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County and the Syracuse City School District. Other organizations who joined in support were Northside Up, Hopeprint, Inc., the Onondaga County Public Library and the Syracuse Police Department’s Butternut Community Police Center. The coordinating organizations would also like to recognize the support from dozens of volunteers from many different communities in Central New York.
Catholic Charities of Onondaga County is an agency that has expanded to meet the needs of a larger population. What started as little more than an extension of neighborhood parishes is today a major provider of services for families and children in Onondaga County. It remains committed to providing for those in need, advocating on behalf of the disadvantaged and assisting people to reach their fullest potential. They assist refugees through their Refugee Resettlement Program which includes case management, mental health and family supportive services.
The United Nation’s global World Refugee Day:
The UN General Assembly, on 4 December 2000, adopted resolution 55/76 where it noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June. The General Assembly therefore decided that, from 2001, 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day.
The UN’s global World Refugee Day on June 20th recognizes of the plight of more than 40 million uprooted people around the world. Around 10 million of them are refugees of special concern to UNHCR (The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).
At UNHCR they help people find new homes and new futures through resettlement, through voluntary repatriation and through local integration. Most of the time, and where it’s possible, refugees prefer to return to their home countries. Nonetheless, and with conflict continuing or escalating in many countries, finding new homes and allowing people to restart their lives is increasingly difficult.
World Refugee Day highlights the plight of refugees, advocates on their behalf for the help they need, and provides opportunities for people to get involved and support refugee resettlement initiatives.
Follow this link for the United Nations World refugee Day page
Follow this link for a printable color promotional flyer
Follow this link for a printable volunteer promotional flyer
For more information, please contact:
InterFaith Works Center for New Americans Refugee Resettlement Program
(315) 474-1261, ext. 208 firstname.lastname@example.org
Catholic Charities of Onondaga County Refugee Resettlement Program
(315) 474-7428, ext. 45 email@example.com