Blog

Resettlement agencies partner to host celebrations of community, culture, and resilience of refugees for World Refugee Day

COLUMBIA, MO. Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri (CCCNMO) will partner with City of Refuge to host a celebration of World Refugee Day at the Columbia Cosmopolitan Recreation Area “Cosmo Park”, located at 1615 Business Loop 70 W. in Columbia, Missouri, on Saturday, June 25th from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.

World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honor refugees globally, under the 2022 theme: Whoever. Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to seek safety. Though World Refugee Day is celebrated on June 20th each year, CCCNMO and City of Refuge are hosting the city-wide celebration on Saturday, June 25th to involve as many community members as possible.

The celebration of community and culture will include catered food and food trucks, bounce houses, face painting and henna booths (among other family-friendly activities), performances of cultural music and dance, community partner resources booths, and more.

“We are thrilled to celebrate our refugee friends,” shared Debbie Beal, Executive Director for City of Refuge, “Our community is full of wonderful partners who invest in the lives of our new neighbors, year in and year out.”

“This day has always been one that we greatly anticipate on the calendar, as it is an opportunity to highlight and share the diversity of cultures we love to interact with on a daily basis,” Beal added.

Over a dozen community partners are slated to host booths that showcase services for community members in the areas of healthcare, transportation, family development, food security, and hands-on activities in art and STEM.

 “We’re excited to feature many community agencies and providers that help make our area a great place to grow, individually and collectively,” shared Valerie Berta, Community Engagement Coordinator for CCCNMO and one of the event’s main organizers.

“Refugees bring so many gifts to their new homes in mid-Missouri, and their strength and resilience deserve celebration,” said Dan Lester, Executive Director of CCCNMO, “We hope for a great turnout this at the World Refugee Day celebration that promises to be the biggest and best yet.”

CCCNMO and City of Refuge anticipate upwards of 500 attendees to the celebration, having hosted separate World Refugee Day events in past years with as many folks arriving to play, share stories, and experience each other’s culture.

“This celebration is a significant event for our community because it raises awareness of refugees, who have been part of our community for decades, shifting the narrative and breaking down barriers to become a visual representation of a community interwoven,” said Lacy Stroessner, Community Sponsorship Coordinator for CCCNMO.

Attendance to the World Refugee Day celebration is free (food from food trucks can be purchased on-site) and open to the public. Visit the information booth for a map of the celebration, performance schedule, details on booths, caterers, and activities. Event organizers are still seeking volunteers to assist with shifts for various activities, details for which can be found on the Facebook Event: World Refugee Day Celebration.

“This event creates a space to honor the strength and resilience of those who have had to flee their home countries,” Stroessner continued, “It’s a sobering fact that there are over 84 million refugees worldwide — a number we can’t even really understand — but we can celebrate the newcomers who have resettled and made a new home in mid-Missouri, honoring their courage, listening to their stories, and welcoming them with open arms.”

 ### 

City of Refuge is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to help refugees recover and regain control of their lives. We help refugees become productive, successful, and contributing members of our community. Learn more online at cityofrefugecolumbia.org.

Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri (CCCNMO), an entity of the Diocese of Jefferson City and the local resettlement agency for mid-Missouri, responds to the needs of people in 38 counties regardless of faith, culture, or situation. This includes services for refugees and immigrants, those with food insecurity, mental health needs, health and nutrition education, basic household, and shelter needs. For more information, visit cccnmo.diojeffcity.org.