Annual World Refugee Day Gathering in Garden of SafeNet
World Refugee Day is dedicated to recognizing the strength, courage, determination, and perseverance of millions of refugees
Thursday, Jun. 20
The International Institute of Erie and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Erie (USCRI) will host a celebration coinciding with World Refugee Day in the gardens of SafeNet, the Erie domestic violence agency.
World Refugee Day is a day launched by the United Nations, which is dedicated to recognizing the strength, courage, determination, and perseverance of millions of refugees who are forced to leave their homes each year. It is also on this day that messages of support for these members of our community are amplified.
The International Institute of Erie stands in support of these people when their journey brings them to Erie. They do this by providing services designed to teach refugees the language and culture of their new community.
In Erie, World Refugee Day has been celebrated by the local refugee resettlement organization since its inception, noted USCRI Erie Director Dylanna Grasinger, but in a different incarnation each year depending on the ideas put forward by the current administration. Regardless, the annual celebration's ongoing goal is to provide attendees with "an interactive, hands-on, less one-dimensional experience" of Erie's refugee cultures and communities, said Grasinger.
"The past few years we've made (the event) into a fundraiser," Grasinger said. "This is a way to introduce people to supporting and getting involved with the organization."
This year's garden celebration will feature all-you-can-eat Middle Eastern food, henna tattooing, music, hookah, and more with the purchase of an event ticket. Erie's premier Syrian food truck, The Shawarma Station, will cater the event, which will also offer desserts from around the world.
Live music from Syria, Iran, Congo, and Bhutan will be performed by members of the four communities in Erie.
"We try to be representative of all the groups of refugees that have come to Erie currently and in the past through either food, dance, or music," Grasinger concluded. — Hannah McDonald
5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. // SafeNet's Big Backyard Children's Garden, 200 Block of East 9th St. // $40 per person; $75 per couple; $275 table of 8 // refugees.org/field-office/erie