On June 23rd hundreds of supporters gathered at Refugee Coffee in Clarkston, Ga. to celebrate the many ways refugees make our country and our state a better place. At the annual World Refugee Day celebration, attendees viewed performances from Laotian and Peruvian dance groups, tasted various foods from around the world, shopped clothes and handicraft made by local refugees and immigrants and listened to inspirational messages from community leaders.
The lineup of speakers included: Congressman Hank Johnson, who represents Clarkston and the rest of Georgia’s 4th Congressional district; Dr. Heval Kelli, a Syrian refugee, current Emory Cardiology Fellow; and LSG employee, Crispin Wilondja, who is also a Lutheran Minister and Congolese asylee.
Here's a video of Crispin's address to the crowd.
Emily Laney, CRSA Chair and LSG’s Metro Atlanta Regional Director spoke to the Dekalb Champion about the incredible turnout for the event. “The CRSA felt really supported and felt like our refugee families were appreciated—people would take the time out to come on a really hot Saturday morning to connect with refugee vendors and to take advocacy action as well,” said Emily, “It was very encouraging, from where I was standing, to see so many people that were there and engaged.”
In a time when the number of refugees arriving is at all time low, it’s important for refugees who are here to know that there are many who support them. “To know that people do welcome them and want them to be here is important right now because it can be so easy for negativity to drown out the reality, which is that Georgia really does love refugees,” said Emily.