The Office of International Communities, a division of the Department of Neighborhoods, invites the public to take part in 2012 World Refugee Week, scheduled for June 11 to 16, culminating with the celebration of World Refugee Day.
Every year, approximately 60,000 refugees come legally to the United States, forced to leave their homelands due to violence or fear of persecution because of race, nationality, religion or political opinion. The week's events raise public awareness about the challenges that refugees face as they adjust to a new life in the U.S., the contributions that they are making to American society, and the ethnic diversity of this community as an integral part of the nation’s cultural fabric.
"The City is proud to acknowledge the thousands of people who have made Houston their home," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. "We admire their fortitude and honor their contributions. This week, we celebrate the many cultures that they share with us, making Houston one of the most vibrant international cities in the world."
World Refugee Week is organized by the Houston World Refugee Day Committee, in collaboration with the Office of International Communities, a division of the Department of Neighborhoods, and the Houston Consortium of Refugee Service Providers. The week's events are as follows: Kick-off Reception & Film Screening, Welcome to Shelbyville, a documentary about the refugee experience as relates to race, religion and identity, Monday, June 11, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., Houston Public Library – Central, 500 McKinney 77002, sponsored by the Houston Public Library and the Office of International Communities, a division of the Department of Neighborhoods; The Young Professionals Mixer, a networking event for resettlement agencies, Thursday, June 14, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Nouveau Antique Arts Bar, 2913 Main Street 77002; World Refugee Day Celebration, Saturday, June 16, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center, 6500 Rookin Street 77074, sponsored by the Houston Consortium and community partners.
For more information about World Refugee Week, contact Benito Juarez, Office of International Communities, Department of Neighborhoods, at 713-778-6503 or visit www.houstontx.gov/neighborhoods. For event details, visit www.refugeedayhouston.org.