Refugees from Burundi, Chad, Sudan, Somalia and other countries crowded the Pima County Board of Supervisors room on Tuesday, to witness the County’s “World Refugee Day” proclamation. Colorfully dressed men, women and children from mostly African countries, who sought safety in America and particularly Pima County were present. These new immigrants face a new language, a new culture, and a new life.
The proclamation read by Chairman Richard Elias, spoke of the necessity of these refugees to flee their countries, to escape persecution and terror, and with courage and perseverance to start a new existence here. The Chairman asked Pima County residents to “welcome and embrace” these individuals, and to offer them assistance and to celebrate their diversity.
Particularly moving were two videos done by refugee children. A young girl from Iraq compared Tucson to Baghdad, and expressed her loneliness in this new country until she met another Iraqi girl at Doolen Middle School and became friends. A young man from Zimbabwe talked about how his country back home had changed and how he was trying to assimilate to this new culture.
Their spokesman, after receiving the proclamation, spoke eloquently of their desire to “contribute now and in the future”, poignantly reminding all listening that they were not illegal residents. He expressed their desires to just want to live peacefully in their new home and become part of our community in Tucson.
All are invited to a free celebration of World Refugee Day at El Presidio Park on Saturday June 20, from 5 to 9. p.m. Please welcome our new residents.