Whether their journey is 1,000 or 10,000 miles, refugees all have a unique and individual story to tell. Join in the celebration Saturday, June 17 as refugees from several different countries reach the pinnacle of their journey to receive American citizenship. The 13th annual Austin celebration of the International World Refugee Day will be held at the Bullock Texas State History Museum from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. with an official naturalization ceremony and children’s activities that will focus on learning about the journey of a refugee.
The United Nations established World Refugee Day, commemorated on June 20, to recognize the courage, resilience and strength of refugee families and individuals who have fled their home countries because of conflict and persecution. Sponsored by the Bullock Museum and member organizations of the Austin Refugee Roundtable, World Refugee Day highlights the plight of those fleeing their home country due to religious or political persecution.
We are witnessing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. The number of people forcibly displaced worldwide is likely to have surpassed a record 60 million.
Texas has a proud legacy of welcoming refugees, and we recognize the valuable contributions refugees bring to our communities and economy. In Texas, refugees are taxpayers, consumers, business owners, and leaders in a broad range of industries across the state.
The Bullock Museum has partnered with iACT and the Refugee Roundtable to host Austin’s World Refugee Day each June for the past eight years. The Bullock Texas State History Museum was recognized as one of the honorees at the Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT) 2017 Hope Awards.
Beginning at 11:30 a.m. visitors will learn more about how refugees are resettled and the countries they come from through games sponsored by Caritas of Austin and Refugee Services of Texas. The naturalization ceremony will begin at noon in the Texas Spirit Theater. A total of 28 refugees will be sworn in as new citizens and the ceremony will be officiated by judge Lee Yeakel.
Entertainment will be provided by Kupira Marimba and children’s storyteller Elizabeth Kuhara from Africa. Attendees are invited to taste samples of world cuisine courtesy of Rosemary’s Catering, while supplies last. Enjoy family activities for all ages, a family portrait area, and all-day free admission to the Bullock Museum’s exhibitions.
Over 10,000 refugees and SIV visa holders resettled in Texas in 2016. More than 1,500 refugees from nearly 30 countries come to Austin each year to start a new life. About 50 percent of refugees resettled are under 18 years old.
Our state is better because of our proud history of refugee resettlement. Refugees have played a leading role in shaping Texas into the strong and vibrant state it is today. When we welcome innocent people who have fled their homes in order to save their lives and start over in safety and freedom, we are also strengthening our local communities and making our state and country stronger.
The Austin Refugee Roundtable enhances collaboration between agencies, community groups and individuals who serve refugees, with the aim of making Austin a welcoming and supportive resettlement community. The coalition is comprised of a number of local agencies that work with refugees, including Caritas of Austin, Interfaith Action of Central Texas, Refugee Services of Texas, Multicultural Refugee Coalition, Amala Foundation, Center for Survivors of Torture and others.
More info at www.thestoryoftexas.com.