Thousands gathered on the steps and lawn of the state Capitol building, cheering and chanting, “No Hate, No Fear, Refugees are welcome here!” Burundian drummers met the marchers at the top of the Capitol’s steps, beating traditional rhythms across the crowd and into the sunny winter day. On Saturday, February 4th, nearly 8,000 marched on the state Capitol during the Utah March for Refugees to welcome refugees and immigrants into our community.
The peaceful march brought community members from all walks of life together to stand up and raise their voices against hate and the recent Executive Order halting refugee resettlement. Inside the Capitol, speakers from several community organizations rallied the crowd, reinforcing the importance of diversity in our community.
Since the march, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the Executive Order, but the number of refugees resettled into Salt Lake City dropped significantly. Additionally, the expected number of refugees to be resettled in the U.S. this year has been decreased by more than half—from 110,000 down to 50,000—leaving thousands in limbo and uncertainty.
Though the future is uncertain, at the IRC in Salt Lake City, we continue to serve over 1,000 refugees who arrived to the Wasatch Front in the past two years. We enroll children in school, schedule health appointments, provide assistance for adults to find jobs, and much more. We provide financial literacy classes, credit building loans, and access to small business development. Additionally, our services extend to immigration and citizenship, the New Roots program supporting refugee farmers and community gardeners, Spice Kitchen Incubator, and the East African Refugee Goat Project.
We rely on community members like yourself to support our efforts and the refugees we serve. Learn more today!