World Refugee Day Chicago 2019

Please come join us this Saturday, June 29th, as we celebrate with Chicago's refugee community and friends at Pottawattomie Park. Activities will start at 8 am and run to 3 pm.


10:10 AM

Imran Mohammad (Emcee & Refugee Speaker)

Imran Mohammad is a Rohingya refugee. His ancestors have lived in Rakhine State, Myanmar for generations. Imran fled Myanmar at the age of 16. Detained nearly two years in Indonesia and on Manus Island for 5 years, Imran was finally resettled in Chicago in Spring of 2018.

10:20 AM

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (Public Official)

9th Congressional District of Illinois

Jan Schakowsky was elected to represent Illinois' 9th Congressional District in 1998, after serving for eight years in the Illinois State Assembly. She is in her eleventh term. She has consistently been a huge advocate for refugees and asylum seekers, and we are extremely grateful for her presence at today’s event.

10:30 AM

Mona Noriega (Public Official)

Chicago Commissioner on Human Relations

Ms. Noriega will read the World Refugee Day Proclamation from the Mayor’s office.

Mona Noriega, born and raised in Chicago, appointed by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011, serves as Chairman and Commissioner of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR). The CCHR is charged with enforcing the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance and the Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance.

10:35 to 10:45 AM

Alireza Ebrahimi (Persian Guitarist)

Alireza Ebrahimi is a very talented Persian Guitarist who studied at Tehran Music School and currently lives in Chicago.

10:45 to 11:00 AM

Dance Peace Chicago (Dancers)

Dance Peace Chicago is an initiative where refugee children and families integrate peacefully into their new communities through dance & music programming for children and teens. All classes and projects are free to participants. Please see them if you are interested in registering. The dancers performing today are ages 7-12 and are learning ballet, jazz, improvisation, and language vocabulary through dance.

11:00 to 11:10 AM

Alderwoman Maria Hadden (Public Official)

49th Ward

Maria Elaine Hadden is a Chicago politician and community activist. She is a member of Chicago City Council, serving as alderwoman for the city's 49th ward. She won election to that office after defeating 28-year incumbent Joe Moore in the 2019 aldermanic elections.

11:10 to 11:25 AM

Samuel Nalangira (Adungu Player)

A native of Uganda, Samuel Nalangirla is a world folk musician, dancer and choreographer who has been performing since childhood and teaching since the age of 15. He has toured across Europe, the United States, Canada and Asia, performing and leading workshops in schools, universities, festivals and community centers. Samuel is a multi-instrumentalist and a master at many traditional instruments including the Adungu from northern Uganda, which he will play for us today.

11:25 to 11:40 AM

Yara Meerkhan (Refugee Speaker)

Yara Barzan Meerkhan is a refugee from Syria. Yara fled to Turkey in 2013. Though delayed for two years due to the travel ban on Syrian refugees, Yara and her husband arrived to the United States a few months ago.

11:40 to 11:55 AM

Omid Mohsenian (Iranian Setar Player)

Omid Mohsenian is originally from Iran. When he is not working as a full-time Business System Analyst, he teaches music at the Iranian Cultural Society of Chicago. Omid practices and plays the Persian Setar during his free time.

11:55 to 12:10

Imran Mohammad and Yara Meerkhan will explain “Why we March”

12:10 to 1:30 PM

“One Human Family” March & Lunch

1:30 to 1:40 PM

Yasmeen Ibrahim and Muntadher Al Maeeni (Refugee Speakers)

REACH Youth will present a Call to Action.

Yasmeen and Muntadher are Peer Mentors (youth leaders) with Refugee Education & Adventure Challenge (REACH). REACH provides refugee youth and their families with experiential learning opportunities focused on STEAM education and adventure sports. Please see the table with REACH materials if you are interested in registering for or volunteering with their Summer Adventure Camp. Yasmeen and Muntadher arrived with their families as refugees from Iraq. They both hope to attend Von Steuben High School as Freshmen next September.

1:40 to 2:00 PM

Seres de Luz (Latin Folk Rock Band)

Seres de Luz is a Latin soul group that weaves together grooves from across the Latin Diaspora. Drawing from the diverse musical and cultural backgrounds of its members, Seres de Luz brings worlds together on the Chicago scene. Their original music is influenced by the sounds of samba, forró, ska, dub, cumbia, chochi, funk, and jazz, among others. Please welcome band members Emil Roja, Tomas Barreto, and Aidan Epstein.

2:00 to 2:15 PM

Alderman Andre Vasquez (Public Official)

40th Ward

Andre Vasquez is a husband, father, organizer, and newly elected Alderman in the 40th Ward. Chicago-born and raised, the son of immigrant parents, Alderman Vasquez understands the values of hard work and common purpose that make our city great.

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