by Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees/Press Release
“Refugees are people like anyone else, like you and me. They led ordinary lives before becoming displaced, and their biggest dream is to be able to live normally again.” -Ban Ki-Moon
UTICA – The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees and Fidelis Care invite the public to join them in celebrating World Refugee Day on Saturday, June 18th in Hanna Park at Utica City Hall from 12 pm until 4 pm. Utica, a city known as “The Town that Loves Refugees,” is an especially appropriate place to commemorate refugees’ endurance and reflect on their contributions to the local community.
World Refugee Day will begin with a special United States Citizenship and Immigration Services children’s oath ceremony to present the children with their certificates of citizenship. This ceremony will be followed by a wide range of activities for the whole family, including music and dance performances and Folktales from Around the World, a puppet show by the Guild of Thespian Puppets. The Utica Zoomobile and opportunities to learn new crafts will be there for kids and adults alike. Activities will also include face painting and henna designs. There will also be food, and traditional handicrafts for sale. Entertainment and educational displays about the experiences of refugees and forced migrants will provide insight into the lives and experiences of the many cultures that make up Utica’s mosaic.
The first World Refugee Day, held on June 20th, 2001, marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. Observed every year, World Refugee Day provides an opportunity to remember the many conflicts that force people from their homes and to honor people for their courage in building new lives.
Utica’s Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees is a non-profit organization that provides services to refugees, immigrants, and Limited English proficient (LEP) individuals. MVRCR’s goal is to help individuals and families achieve independence and self-sufficiency in their new communities. Founded in 1981, MVRCR has settled close to 16,000 individuals in Mohawk Valley.
This event is free and open to the public.