Houston World Refugee Day Set for June 17

World Refugee Day 2015

Catholic Charities staff members celebrate World Refugee Day.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will once again celebrate World Refugee Day this month.

The mission of World Refugee Day Houston is to raise awareness, honor refugees, and show gratitude to the many Houstonians who have welcomed refugees for more than 40 years.

The Houston Refugee Consortium will honor and recognize refugees’ courage and contributions at the World Refugee Day Houston event on Sat., June 17, 2017 at Levy Park from 4 – 7 p.m. The free, family-friendly event will feature musicians, dancers, and a resource/artisan fair. Houstonians will have the opportunity to taste food from refugee and immigrant owned restaurants.

World Refugee Day was established in 2001 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to honor the courage, strength, and determination of men, women, and children who are forced to flee their homes under the threat of persecution, conflict, and violence.

The Houston Refugee Consortium honors refugees at the annual World Refugee Day Houston event, established in 2003 and hosted in partnership with the City of Houston, UNHCR, and many community organizations. The Consortium is a partnership of six organizations serving refugees in Houston: the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, Bilingual Education Institute, Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston, Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, Refugee Services of Texas, and YMCA International Services.

Since 1978, over 70,000 refugees from 78 countries have called Houston home. For the past few years, Houston has held the distinction of being America’s  No. 1 resettlement city, welcoming more refugees than any other city in the United States. In fact, the Houston Chronicle reported in 2015 that if Greater Houston were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest receiving state.

Our largest refugee populations are of South Asian (especially Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Burmese) and eastern African (especially Somali and Ethiopian) origin. Last year almost 3,000 refugees resettled in the Houston area, the majority of them from Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, and, increasingly, Syria.

Refugees contribute to our city in many ways. They are restaurant owners, politicians, community activists, teachers, and more. The men, women, and children who have come to Houston to rebuild their lives are part of the cosmopolitan fabric of our great city, contributing to our success through their resilience and grit. For this reason, we honor and celebrate them on World Refugee Day.

Visit the event website for more information at worldrefugeedayhouston.org.