Every June 20th, the United Nations and countless civic groups around the world host World Refugee Day events in order to draw the public’s attention to the millions of refugees worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict and persecution. Around the world, over 70 million people have no place to call home.
Since 2010, over 4,000 refugees have been resettled in Amarillo (and over 7,000 since 2007)—making this city one of the highest concentrations of resettlement in Texas. Each summer, we celebrate and honor these men and women at our local World Refugee Day celebration. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we opted to replace this year’s event with an hour-long video tribute!
In collaboration with over 15 local organizations, we bring to you the Panhandle Refugee Celebration this Saturday, June 20. If you are local, tune in to Panhandle PBS at 2 PM. Trinity Fellowship Church will also be premiering the event on Facebook at 7 PM. We’ll share that video on our Facebook page, so follow RefugeeLanguageProject to see the video when it airs.
The event will feature messages from our mayor, chief of police, resettlement agency directors, and other local partners. It will also include pieces from the Amarillo Symphony and the choir at Emmanuel Revival Church as well as a special series of interviews I was honored to conduct with four different refugee leaders here in our city.
Tune in to hear Omar tell about the Somali entrepreneurial spirit, and Par describe what it’s like to be a Chin youth who serves as a bridge for her parents. You’ll be encouraged to learn from Diana how she overcame a brutal past in South Sudan to thrive here in Amarillo, and marvel at the heart of Thepha, a Thai pastor who serves Karen refugees. You won’t want to miss this hour long special, so be sure to mark your calendars and join us in honoring and celebrating these men and women we call our neighbors. In next month’s newsletter we’ll share the full-length interviews!