Updated: Jun 7
We invite you to join us in a series of events this month to celebrate and recognize the many contributions that refugee and immigrant individuals and families bring to our communities.
Refugee Education & Adventure Challenge (REACH) has been an active member of the World Refugee Day Chicago committee since our inception. It's an important way for our youth to give back to the community through service learning and mentorship. This year, World Refugee Day will be celebrated via live virtual events and social media campaigns starting on June 16th and ending on June 20th.
World Refugee Day Chicago is an event-based organization that seeks to celebrate and uplift refugees while creating meaningful relationships across local communities. All events are organized by a collaborative group of staff, volunteers, and refugee advocates and supporters from various organizations focused on welcoming and serving refugees.
On May 27th, we started our celebrations early with a discussion about the new documentary film - Utica: The Last Refuge. Members of the World Refugee Day Chicago community gathered online to engage in conversation with film maker Loch Phillipps and members of the Utica, New York community, which is known as "the Town That Loves Refugees." The event was facilitated by REACH's Executive Director Shana Wills.
On June 16th, all are invited to join us in a discussion about alternative resettlement systems. This is another online event during which we will be sharing ideas about ways to re-conceptualize the post-resettlement socialization process. REACH's model will be presented as one of the alternative approaches to reframe the ways in which we interpret and design places and spaces for refugee integration. Speakers will also include community and systemic psychologists and refugee innovators who together visualize a creative new framework for refugee resettlement.
Then on June 19th, you can participate in the celebrations with World Refugee Day Chicago, starting at 10:00 AM Central with a Juneteenth memorial, followed by live music and dance performances from an awesome roster of artists, our hugely popular refugee soccer tournament, and family hour with dance lessons and more. REACH is excited to be co-facilitating this year's #WillUBMyFriend campaign, through which dozens of refugee households in Chicago will receive flag-making art kits and follow a tutorial made by one of our own Peer Mentors. We are also inviting children from across the city and suburbs to join in the campaign to celebrate diversity and build virtual friendships with refugee youth through this art project. All families will be posting their masterpieces on social media during the week of June 14th through the 20th, using the hashtag #WillUBMyFriend.
We are proud to be part of this community and we hope you will join us in celebrating the wonderful people who make it great! This month is an important time to reflect on the past and honor the strength, determination and richness of refugee and immigrant communities while recognizing the need for everyone to feel welcome and included.