We hope you’ll join us for the Pittsburgh celebration of World Refugee Day! The exciting, family-friendly event is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Friday, June 20th in Market Square.
JF&CS, Northern Area Multi-Service Center (NAMS), Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council (GPLC), AJAPO (Acculturation for Justice, Access & Peace Outreach), American Red Cross of Southwest Pennsylvania, Compass AmeriCorps, City of Asylum Pittsburgh, Repair the World: Pittsburgh and CISV Pittsburgh are collaboratively hosting the celebration. The event is funded by Vibrant Pittsburgh and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
“Pittsburgh’s World Refugee Day is about bringing local refugees and community members together to connect with one another and celebrate their cultures,” said Leslie Aizenman, director of refugee and immigrant services at JF&CS. “Many people wonder who refugees are and why they are in Pittsburgh. This is a great way for community members to get to know their new neighbors, and a wonderful educational opportunity to learn about the refugee experience.”
The family-friendly event is free and open to the public. World Refugee Day will feature a performance by the world-famous Allstar Refugee Band, and local refugee groups will perform traditional musical and dance numbers. The event will offer cultural crafts, activities for kids and “Refugee Voices;” personal stories shared by area refugees about their experience and what it means to be a refugee. Traditional cuisine from Nepal, Zambia, Kenya and several other ethnicities from local restaurants and vendors will be available for purchase (cash only).
“We are thrilled to welcome the local refugee communities to showcase their culture and talent with their new neighbors in Pittsburgh. We have put together an exciting and diverse event with people all across the world,” said Danielle Vinceguerra, Matching Grants Coordinator at NAMS.
World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations to honor and recognize the approximately 42.5 million refugees, internally displaced and stateless people around the world who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence. The observance of World Refugee Day in Pittsburgh is a collaborative effort of the major refugee resettlement agencies and service providers in the local community.
Through extensive work in refugee resettlement, JF&CS and the hosting organizations have helped thousands of refugees, including most recently Bhutanese, Burmese, African/Somali and Iraqi, successfully resettle in communities throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area, as well as providing additional services including career services, social and human services and support.
“Refugee and immigrant populations greatly add to the cultural and workforce diversity of our region, and at the same time help to increase population numbers,” Leslie said. “The Pittsburgh celebration of World Refugee Day recognizes the refugee experience and honors their contributions to our community. The refugee population in Pittsburgh has a tremendous impact on our region’s economy and diversity; they have gone on to raise their families, buy homes and open their own businesses in their new neighborhoods.”
We hope to see you there!