Each year on June 20—World Refugee Day—the world commemorates the strength, courage, and resilience of millions of refugees. At the IRC in Atlanta, we also take this time to celebrate the vast contributions that refugees have made to our state for more than 40 years and to advocate for refugees, asylum seekers, humanitarian parolees, and the full restoration of the U.S. refugee resettlement program.
The IRC in Atlanta kicked-off the week’s events by inviting community members to a Breakfast Briefing and update on refugee resettlement in Georgia. On the morning of June 20, Executive Director, Justin Howell, was joined by our Staff Attorney, Asiyah Sarwari, and Afghan Placement and Assistance Casework Supervisor, Naser Mohdzaher, to brief attendees on our collective work welcoming more than 800 Afghan evacuees—in addition to over 250 refugees from Syria, Myanmar, the DRC and other areas in crisis—to Georgia over the past eight months. The trio highlighted several new programmatic initiatives to meet the needs of new arrivals, including the Salamati Rohi (Mental Health) Project, focused on providing culturally appropriate mental health support to Afghan evacuees as well as recent arrivals through the traditional resettlement pipeline.
Asiyah stressed the importance of advocating for an Afghan Adjustment Act, which would provide a pathway to lawful permanent status for more than 76,000 Afghan evacuees. “These people are suffering. I cannot reiterate enough, the amount of trauma there is in the fact that they don’t have any type of permanent status at all," she shared. "It’s not something you can build your life on and that’s what we’re asking them to do.”
The event was catered by Mint Coffeehouse, a mobile espresso bar—and refugee-owned business—servicing the greater Atlanta area. Ahmad Alzoukani, originally from Syria, is the owner of Mint Coffeehouse and works with his wife Marianna in sharing their love of coffee and passion for supporting the Atlanta refugee and immigrant community. Their services include an espresso truck ideal for large events, a mobile espresso bar for indoor gatherings, and an espresso trailer for smaller outdoor gatherings. Thank you, Mint Coffeehouse for the to-order, delicious and unique coffees!
On the evening of World Refugee Day, we also hosted a Dine-Out Night in partnership with our generous friends at Chai Pani Decatur, who committed to donating a portion of the evening's dinner proceeds to support refugees in Atlanta! Thanks to this generosity—and everyone who came out to join us for dinner—we raised $637 to support our humanitarian mission!
Finally, along with our Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies (CRSA) partners, we celebrated World Refugee Day in Clarkston on Saturday, June 25. The event featured incredible performers and amazing vendors and guest speakers including Congressman Hank Johnson and Senator Jon Ossoff. Be sure to check out photographs from this event from our friend, Pouya Ramzi, in this Facebook album and check out more photo stories and write-ups from the event below:
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Senior Development Manager, Heloise Ahoure, at [email protected] or 678-636-8941.