By: Monica Melgoza, Administrative Analyst, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency
World Refugee Day is internationally observed in June each year and is dedicated to raising awareness of the situations of refugees throughout the world. The day serves to commemorate the strength, courage and resilience of millions of refugees that have been forced to flee their homes from persecution or to escape disaster.
The San Diego Refugee Forum is the lead sponsor of the World Refugee Day event in San Diego. This year’s event was led by co-chairs Laurel Dalsted from the International Rescue Committee and Monica Melgoza from the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. Local organizations such as the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, International Rescue Committee, The Karen Organization, Daily Harvest Express and the YMCA of San Diego County, collaborated with the San Diego Refugee Forum to organize the 2018 celebration. For the first time, the Forum teamed up with Copley-Price YMCA to host the celebration on Saturday, June 23, 2018.
The goal of World Refugee Day was to celebrate the diversity of San Diego’s refugee population, showcase the cultures and customs of home countries, provide connections to resources and community organizations, and strengthen the understanding among community members to create a more welcoming experience for all. With over 40 organizations in attendance, the event included resource tables, cultural performances, community links tables, and free attractions for attendees such as World Cup livestream, food samples, farmers’ market, and multiple kids’ activities. Over 600 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables were distributed for free to attendees by the Daily Harvest Express Mobile Farm stand. World Refugee Day 2018 was successful in offering a culturally vibrant atmosphere and promoted solidarity to all 300+ who attended the celebration.
Community participation continues to grow year after year and new partnerships were created as a result of this event. Some of the partnering organizations’ reactions were: “Good location and community attendance, nice variety of vendors and cultural activities” and “I like the location, the many partners at the event, the stage performances, and guests; very impressed with everything.”
For more information about the San Diego Refugee Forum, how to become a member or join the mailing list visit www.sdrefugeeforum.org