World Refugee Day, an annual celebration established by the United Nations, brings together individuals across the world to commemorate our brothers and sisters that have been forced to flee their homes. With county government support and local events, Georgia joined countless other communities around the globe in this celebration.
On Tuesday, June 13, the Dekalb County Board of Commissioners, in and effort led by District 4 Commissioner Steve Bradshaw, declared June 20th as World Refugee Day in Dekalb County. Dekalb County is home to more than 60 percent of newly arrived refugees that call Georgia home, and this proclamation reaffirms the county’s continual support of all its refugee residents. Commissioner Bradshaw worked with the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies (CRSA), of which New American Pathways is a member, to create the proclamation.
“The CRSA is proud to celebrate our refugee neighbors with the DeKalb County Commission today for this proclamation,” said Frances McBrayer, Chair of the CRSA. “We appreciate the support of the DeKalb County Commission very much and greatly value the welcoming environment to refugees and immigrants that DeKalb has long been and continues to be.”
The welcoming community itself came together Saturday, June, 17, to celebrate World Refugee Day at Refuge Coffee Co. in Clarkston. Neighbors came out to enjoy coffee together, write postcards to their representatives, and create welcoming notes for incoming refugees–all in celebration of refugees throughout our community, our nation, and the globe.
“For me, it was a success. I’m very grateful to the different organizations that made that day happen, for thinking about refugees,” said Leon Shombana, who was resettled in Clarkston four years ago and now works at Refuge Coffee Co. “It was a special place to hold the day.”
Welcoming community members also found value in celebrating World Refugee Day.
“I think it is important to celebrate refugees not only because of the incredible amount of strength it took them to get where they are today, but also because they are sometimes misunderstood in the world community,” said Reed Stewart, who came out to the World Refugee Day celebration because she “wanted to support the community and Refuge Coffee on such a special day and help become an advocate.”
From the County’s Proclamation to the festivities at Refuge Coffee, World Refugee Day has brought together folks from across Atlanta to celebrate and stand in solidarity with refugees in our community and beyond.