USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

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Celebrating World Refugee Day with Neighbors New and Old


June 17 was a day of fun, food, and festivities.  Refugee families, volunteers, staff, and other community members—both young and old—converged on Veterans Park in Warren, MI to commemorate the struggles and honor the accomplishments of refugees in light of World Refugee Day (officially on June 20).  This year is extra special for us at USCRI: It marks our organization’s100th anniversary. 

“Meeting with refugees and listening to their stories during World Refugee Day’s celebration gave me a great opportunity to better understand how people just like all of us become refugees,” said USCRI Detroit Director, Tawfik Alazem.  “It’s extremely tough to flee destruction of your life in one place and try to rebuild it in another.  It really takes courage to be a refugee.”

The event was a success! A number of mouth-watering specialties were provided for the 75 or more attendees.  There was something for every taste, including pizza, Iraqi kabob, Lebanese fattoush salad, hummus, and Syrian sweets. 

This year’s entertainment lineup was a hit.  Standup comedian Bassam Al-Amen’s impressions of Arabic actors and songs had everyone rolling with laughter.  Adults enjoyed listening to nostalgic tunes while sharing memories of back home.  The kids had a blast coloring books, face painting, creating masterpieces with sidewalk chalk, flying kites, playing soccer and volleyball, and enjoying an entertaining water-balloon fight.

The highlights of the World Refugee Day picnic were two competitions USCRI hosted for the kids: a potato sack race and a bucket fill-up contest.  Winners received fun-filled goody bags.  But at the end of the day, every child was a winner in our eyes and each took home a special prize.  

We would like to thank the following friends of USCRI Detroit for making this year’s World Refugee Day festivities a success: Masri Sweets, Milan’s Pizza, Barakah Poultry, and the Golden Chicken. 

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