City recognizes World Refugee Day
Mayor Jim Kenney and the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) joined yesterday with the Philadelphia Regional Refugee Providers’ Collaborative, a coalition of refugee resettlement and post resettlement service providers in observance of World Refugee Day.
Entering its 15th year, World Refugee Day is designed to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis.
“Philadelphia welcomes refugees from diverse language and cultural backgrounds from all over the world,” Kenney said in a press release. “In our city, each of these new communities can find safety, acceptance, a community of faith, and a government that is working to create access to necessary services in their native language.”
The theme for this year is “creating a welcoming community” and will feature remarks by refugee service providers, resettled refugees and English as a second language teachers. Plus more.
In addition, there are community events planned to celebrate the occasion, including the Philadelphia World Refugee Day Festival that will be held on July 9 at City Hall.
“Philadelphia has a long and proud tradition of welcoming those fleeing persecution, intolerance, and conflict,” OIA Director Miriam Enriquez said in a statement. “We were founded on the universal principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Today, in observance of World Refugee Day, we recognize the struggles and aspirations of immigrants who have been displaced from their nations in the pursuit of these ideals we hold so dear.”
During the announcement, on display were photographs taken by Harvey Finkle from a series entitled, “Human, Not Illegals”. The photographs showed how immigrants and refugees are revitalizing urban neighborhoods with their energy and contributions.
“Simply put – refugees and immigrants work hard, want to live in safety, raise their families, educate their children and worship without fear,” Finkle said. “They bring the same desire and values that immigrants have historically brought to our country.”