World Refugee Day Raises Awareness


World-Refugee-Day-Event-El-Grito-de-la-Cultura-Folk-Dance-Acadamy-by-pam-marino-good-neighbor-storiesToday, June 20, is World Refugee Day, dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of more than 43 million refugees around the world, who are forced to flee from their homes under threat of persecution, violence, and war. Thousands of refugees live here in the Bay Area.

Last Friday, June 14, the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter, PARS Equality Center, The Presbytery of San Jose, and the Refugee and Immigrant Forum of Santa Clara County, collaborated to host the 21st Annual World Refugee Day event at the Campbell Community Center. A few hundred people gathered to enjoy music, dance, and food representing a number of cultures represented by the refugees present.

Performances included traditional dances from Russia, Eritrea and other parts of Africa, Mexico, and Israel. In addition, volunteers from several agencies who give hundreds of hours of service to mentor and care for refugees in Santa Clara County were honored.

UPDATE: You can still celebrate at the Friday, June 21, World Refugee Day 2013 event in Oakland. It’s taking place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lake Merritt Bandstand, behind Fairyland. It includes food, performances, games, and free Fairyland tickets to the first 300 families. The event is sponsored by the East Bay Refugee Forum, and other local organizations.

See more photos and find out how you can get involved after the jump.


Ida Gurevich performs a traditional Russian dance.


Dancers from the Kuamka Afrika group perform an Eritrean dance.


Members of the El Grito de la Cultura Folk Dance Academy perform.

Girls Dancing


Member of El Grito de la Cultura Folk Dance Academy


Want to help refugees? Refugee Transitions is one group that helps refugees in the Bay Area. You can also contact one of the other organizations linked to above.

The Presbytery of San Jose recently completed purchase of a home in downtown San Jose to host refugees who are new to the country, called Immanuel House. A special party to celebrate the purchase is happening 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, July 13, at the Taiwanese-American Presbyterian Church, 3675 Payne Ave., San Jose.