June 20th was World Refugee Day, an annual event where we celebrate, remember and honor refugees around the world. In Atlanta our celebration of this day usually includes an event with vendors, delicious food and coffee, and performances and speeches from around the world. Our involvement with the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies allows over twenty nonprofits to coordinate together to highlight the contributions of new Americans in Georgia. Due to COVID-19, we knew that this year’s event would be different, but we were determined to continue the celebratory and awareness raising spirit of events in years past.
The contributions of refugees during this time of COVID-19 are especially important as so many serve as essential workers in many industries that are vital during this time. The hashtag #refugeesareessential trended for World Refugee Day. For the CRSA, we shifted our in-person event to a drive through event with a ‘DIY World Refugee Day’ kit. Participants could walk up or drive through to purchase a delicious cup of refuge coffee and receive a free kit with coloring pages, discussion topics, a keychain or bookmark, advocacy postcards, and sidewalk chalk to write a “Refugees Welcome” message at their home. We are so grateful for the many people who took the time on Saturday to stop by to show their support for World Refugee Day! There was a steady flow of cars in the drive through and bikers, walkers, and community members stopped by as well. Even though we cannot be together in person, promoting positive contributions and stories about refugees is incredibly important.
As we wrap up this month of World Refugee Day, we encourage you to send a note to Governor Kemp, reminding him that you support a robust refugee resettlement program in Georgia. You can read about refugees as essential workers during this time of COVID-19 here and here. And you can stay in touch with us at New AP to learn about ways you can continue to support new Americans during this unprecedented time. We are grateful for the continued support of so many as we work to see refugees and Georgia thrive.