Manchester marks World Refugee Day with celebrations and a formal proclamation
Several hundred people gathered at Manchester's Brookside Congregational Church this week to celebrate World Refugee Day.
For some, like Mininahaque Mariam of Nashua, the celebration was an opportunity to meet others who are also navigating life here in New Hampshire. She’s been taking an English class online with other people who are newly settling down in the state and wanted to meet her classmates in person.
“So it was good to see them, not only in Zoom but in person,” Mariam said, through an interpreter.
The event was also hosted by the International Institute of New England. Since the fall, the agency said it has resettled nearly 100 people in New Hampshire, including 81 from Afghanistan.
Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, who spoke at the event, formally recognized World Refugee Day through a proclamation.
The push for this official recognition came from 17-year-old Aaron Joy, a rising senior at Phillips Exeter Academy. Joy said his father, a refugee, fled civil war and ethnic persecution in Sri Lanka.
Working with local organizations, Joy is also helping to coordinate another event marking World Refugee Day this Saturday evening at the Center For New Americans at the YWCA in Manchester.
Saturday's event, which will include food and musical performances, is open to the public. (Click here for more details.)
Joy said he hopes these efforts will help “to recognize the contributions [of resettled refugees] in Manchester and the lasting impact that they have on the community.”