Story by Rachel Ramirez. Photos by Carlos Terrones and Adalia Dinberg.
More than a hundred people gathered in North Portland Saturday to honor the strength and resilience of refugees who went through countless struggles in their lives. The 2017 World Refugee Day celebration was sponsored by Parks for New Portlanders Program. The day was filled with music and dancing, fashion shows, food carts, spoken words, activities, and vendor booths.
Community and government organizations including the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), Center for African Immigrants and Refugees of Oregon (CAIRO), Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees (SOAR), Multnomah County, The Red Cross, The Iraqi Society of Oregon, Lutheran Community Services, and the Refugee Center Online supported the event.
Speakers emphasized the importance of inclusion and building bridges with the refugee community and highlighted success stories of refugees from around the world, who are now farmers, lawyers, olympians, students and doctors. Despite the hardships these individuals go through, they are doing their best to thrive and succeed in the world, speakers said.
“We had a good turn out regardless of the weather,” said Som Subedi, Engagement Coordinator of Parks for New Portlanders. “All Oregon's refugee resettlement agencies were there, Portland City Commissioner's office was there, diverse cultural performances, fun and free food. For Parks for New Portlanders Program, this is our second year doing this and as a refugee & City Employee myself, it is very important this celebration continues years to come!”