Author: LSSNCA volunteer, Tameem Al-Talabani
Currently, there are 70.8 million individuals who are forcibly displaced around the world. From those, 41.3 million are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugees comprise 25.9 million individuals, and asylum seekers consist of 3.5 million individuals from the total figure. In effect, the world is facing a global humanitarian crisis which deserves to be recognized.
Many countries have historically stood together to take in refugees and asylum seekers who flee their country’s instability, and give them the opportunity to pursue their dreams and be effective community members in their new homes. More specifically, the United States is one of the countries that have always been at the helm of the initiative to host refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable populations.
June’s World Refugee Day is part of a global reflection process, to unite our mindsets and solidarity for those fleeing their homes and countries to seek a better, secure and safe life. World Refugee Day is not a mere celebration, but also an important reminder of the plight and difficulties faced by our brothers and sisters. We must accompany them, advocate for them, and protect their rights to be resettled and live a dignified life.
World Refugee Day is a celebration and reminder of how refugees positively affect our communities and contribute to the unique diversity of the United States. It is a bridge between cultures and communities to learn from each other and to share traditions, rituals, and prayers for a better world. It is an ultimate reminder that the U.S. is a land of immigrants and was built by immigrants. No one can take this reality away.
The LSSNCA’s refugee resettlement office in Hyattsville, Maryland has been part of ensuring that this day of remembrance stays alive. LSSNCA not only provides day-to-day, needs-based services to refugees, but they also inspire to go above and beyond the call of duty and be present in mind, spirit, and body to those in need, to ensure that refugees and immigrants have an easy transition into their new lives in the United States, and to pave a foundation for clients to be exemplary and contributing individuals in the fabric of the American society.
The June World Refugee Day celebration was held on a Saturday, June 15th and hosted by LSSNCA. It wonderfully showcased a mosaic reminding us what truly makes up our country and how strong we are made through diversity. Families from different backgrounds came to share food, laughter, stories, and watch dances from India, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was an important day to acknowledge that, among all challenges, we can overcome difficulties and inspire one another.
I ask that you join me to offer refugees, immigrants, the team at LSSNCA, others within the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and all those who are involved independently to provide support for refugees and vulnerable communities. Moreover, to pray for the strength to advocate, in any capacity, for the rights of refugees to choose where their home is and advocate for their right to achieve their dreams.
See you all next year on World Refugee Day!
*Both World Refugee Day events in Hyattsville and Fairfax were made possible thanks to multiple generous volunteers and donors. Special thanks to VA RPCV, Love Elizabeth Women Group, the Census Bureau, Church of the Good Shephard, Nahla Nabil and family, DC Craft Bartender’s Guild, Starbucks, Kara Brielmann and husband , Redeeming Love Outreach Center, Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, Parkview Gardens Apartments, Mezze, Chipotle, Giant, Wegman’s, Weis, Trader Joe’s, and Patrice Gancie.