On Saturday, June 23, 400 people gathered at Refuge Coffee Co. in Clarkston to show support for their neighbors and to celebrate and honor the vast contributions that refugees make to our communities in honor of World Refugee Day 2018. The IRC in Atlanta is proud to be a founding member of the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies (CRSA) who collectively organized this annual community event.
A dedicated supporter of refugee and immigrant communities, Congressman Hank Johnson attended the World Refugee Day Celebration and addressed the crowd, speaking out against family separation at the U.S. border and the all-time low refugee arrivals numbers at this time of unprecedented global need. Attendees also heard from Dr. Heval Kelli—Emory Cardiologist and former refugee from Syria—who spoke to a passionate crowd about the crucial role that welcoming American citizens played in his own refugee journey and the need to reach out to those who are different from us. CRSA Chair, Emily Laney issued a call to action, reminding attendees to call Congress, repeatedly and consistently, to demand the Administration meet its own goal of 45,000 refugee admissions for 2018 and that they stop separating vulnerable families at the U.S. border. Advocates filled out hundreds of postcards at the Advocacy Station and were provided with phone numbers for Georgia Members of Congress to take home.
Throughout the morning we were honored to experience music and dance performances from the CPACS AWESOME Drumming Troupe, Souliya Natasinh Dance Program—self-taught Laotian dancers who are the children of refugees, and the Peruvian Cultural Association Aklla Sumaq. Another highlight of the event was our inaugural Vendors Market, where refugee and immigrant business owners offered a colorful array of homemade savory food, sweets, clothing and accessories.
Two of the IRC in Atlanta's Microenterprise Development program clients, Abeer and Nazer, were vendors at the event and were thrilled to meet so many new customers! Abeer is an incredible baker, who makes delicate Syrian pastries and cookies, as well as delicious pickled vegetables and condiments. You can purchase her goods at Tucker Farmer's Market, every Thursday from 4pm-8pm, and at Stone Mountain Farmer's Market every Tuesday from 4pm-7pm. Nazer is the owner of Rudy's Food Art and Catering Services and he blew everyone away with his incredible fruit carving, tropical drinks and fruit skewers. natheer.ghazal [at] gmail.com (Contact Nazer) for more information about his catering services.
Sincere thanks to all who joined us for this incredible event and helped make this our greatest World Refugee Celebration to date. You showed up, spoke out, and sent the message loud and clear—Georgia Loves Refugees!
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 Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.