SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Mayor Jackie Biskupski celebrated Utahns who have escaped wars and persecution at a World Refugee Day Luncheon Wednesday at the Sorenson Cultural Center.
According to the United Nations, a record 68 million people have been forced to flee their home countries in the past year. In the past, we’ve taken in several thousand of those refugees right here in Utah.
“Everybody says that Utah is the best place,” Amanullah Raheemi, a refugee from Afghanistan told News4Utah. “It’s a lot of jobs and a clean city besides the Mormons are very nice.”
Asma Dahir, a daughter of refugees from Somalia, performed a spoken word piece at the luncheon.
“Utah is an excellent place because I feel like the community here is very welcoming,” Dahir said. “And I feel like we all work together to help new families, new immigrants.”
We’re a state settled by people escaping religious persecution and a state that offers numerous job training and cultural integration programs to modern day refugees who have overcome incredible hardships.
“These are individuals who have remarkable stories that need to be told and need to be shared,” Dahir said. “So don’t be afraid to walk up and ask them about their stories.
Aden Batar, the Resettlement Director for Catholic Community Services, says we’re currently in the worst refugee crisis since World War II but the current Federal Administration has reduced immigration to a trickle.
“Since 2016 we haven’t had many refugees come to the United States,” Batar explained. “So I think it is time for our country to step up and bring more refugees.”
Mayor Biskupski says these survivors make her city vibrant and diverse.
“We have unique foods. We have unique cultural experiences here because of the refugees,” she said. “We have, you know, a little of the entire world living right here in Salt Lake City and I find that to be very exciting.”
The Refugee Services Office of the Utah State Department of Workforce Services is planning a big celebration open to everybody Saturday at Fairmont Park in Salt Lake City. For details on that, you can go to https://jobs.utah.gov/refugee/volunteer/wrd/index.html.