On June 20, World Refugee Day, the world commemorates the strength, courage, and resilience of millions of refugees. This year, the IRC in Florida’s Tallahassee office worked with local partners to celebrate the vast contributions that refugees have made to our state and to advocate for refugees, asylum seekers and the restoration of the refugee resettlement program.
Tallahassee’s Adult and Community Education (ACE) school hosted the event, as the IRC’s partner in providing all newly-arrived families with English for Speakers of Other Languages programming. The theme of the day was economic empowerment; IRC clients spoke about their first employment experiences in America and local businesses discussed the positive impact of these new employees.
Since opening in 2015, the IRC in Florida's Tallahassee office has resettled more than 500 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador and Syria, welcoming families to rebuild their lives in Leon County. WTXL Tallahassee covered the event and interviewed IRC client Ngena Yolondjwa from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who said: "I think here in America, here in Tallahassee, I'll fulfill my dream. I've been welcomed by everyone in Tallahassee here and I'm thankful for that."
We were honored to have Commissioner Dianne Willams-Cox and Courtney Thomas, Director of External Affairs in the Office of Mayor John Dailey, in attendance to present an official proclamation to IRC Site manager, Una Bilic, declaring June 20 as World Refugee Day in Tallahassee.
The event featured an International Potluck with a variety of dishes and plenty of Congolese favorites. The incredible Swahili Children's Choir performed and were highlighted on local television and in the Tallahassee Democrat.
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Florida 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.
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