On Saturday, June 22, LSG came together with the refugee community in Clarkston to celebrate World Refugee Day. Under the bright afternoon sun, Clarkston residents and other supporters of the refugee community flocked to the activity fields next to the Clarkston Community Center to join millions around the world who were remembering the hardships that refugees face while also honoring their accomplishments. As a timely tribute to the success of many refugees in Clarkston, the celebration included a naturalization ceremony for some of America’s newest citizens: former refugees who have been living in the U.S. for several years.
Although the Clarkston community chose to celebrate World Refugee Day on Saturday, June 22, the official day of observance each year is June 20. On that day, people around the world and in the United States remember the millions of refugees who have to flee their homes. For around 70,000 refugees each year, the United States offers a safe haven and an opportunity to begin a new life. Around 2,500 of these refugees are resettled in Georgia, where nonprofit agencies such as Lutheran Services of Georgia work with local and state government organizations to help these new Americans become productive members of Georgia’s communities.
Representatives from many of these nonprofit agencies were present at the celebration in Clarkston to inform others of the work that they do with the refugee community. Melanie Johnson, Program Manager for Volunteer, Congregation, and Community Engagement was braving the heat and staffing an information table for LSG. Many other members of LSG’s Refugee Services were at the event, too, including Taryn Arbeiter and Gayle Cruz, who served delicious Nepali food to all and sundry.
If you missed out on the celebration this year, be sure to mark your calendars for next year. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn more about nonprofits serving the refugee community, taste food from around the world, and witness the resilience and success of many refugees in Clarkston!