The Salt Lake County Office For New Americans is hosting “Welcoming Week”, a series of events to help refugees and immigrants feel welcome and valued. It culminates with the swearing in of 75-100 people as new US citizens on September 8th.

New American and Refugee Liaison Joseph Genda joined us along with Chris Jones, Communications Director for Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, to share the importance of Friday’s event.

Joseph tells us he knows what it’s like to fear for his life every night, “when war broke out in my country of Sierra Leone, I had to flee my home, leaving everything behind. I walked for 70 miles to get to a refugee camp in Liberia, where I lived for several years, I returned home for a short while then came to Utah, where I got a degree from the University of Utah.”

He goes on, “to be able to host this event on Friday is very gratifying. But to be able to help them throughout the year get things like connecting them to resources, jobs, and distributing emergency kits or school supplies, it is a year-round job that I am so passionately dedicated too. And it is important because since 1980 more than 65,000 refugees have settled in Salt Lake County, and they are regularly contributing to making our county as amazing as it is.”

Chris shares a beautiful message of inclusion, acceptance, and the importance of attending the event this weekend. If you can, put it on your calendar and be part of the experience of the New American Swearing in Ceremony this Friday, September 8th at 10am. Find the Viridian Event Center at 8030 S 1825 W in West Jordan.