New Canadians and Central Albertans will be brought closer together on World Refugee Day.
The Central Alberta Refugee Effort (C.A.R.E.) will hold three events June 20 in Red Deer to mark the milestone.
Jan Underwood, C.A.R.E. public awareness co-ordinator of community development, said World Refugee Day celebrations in Red Deer get bigger each year.
“The more people we can involve … and the more we can spread a positive message about refugees the better,” Underwood said.
The day begins with art activities and drumming at The HUB on Ross from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Two short films about refugees will then be shown at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery from 1 to 4 p.m. One film discusses the settlement process for refugees and the other is about two young refugee asylum seekers.
“A lot of people may not realize what it’s like for people when they first arrive,” Underwood said. “We’re all in this together and it’s up to all of us within the community to be as welcoming and inclusive of the diversity that’s coming in.”
The day will wrap up with a discussion panel, free community dinner and performance by local refugee children at Festival Hall from 4:30 to 7 p.m.
Underwood, who planned the events along with Sadia Khan from C.A.R.E., said she hopes refugees share their stories with people who grew up in Canada during the dinner.
“We want … people to talk to each other, to get to know each other and get rid of some of the biases and maybe prejudice some people have. Getting to know a person is the best way to dispel some of those myths and misconceptions people have,” she said.
Four women from Syria will prepare a meal for the expected 150-200 people in attendance.
Underwood said there are various activities and events because people will enjoy different things.
“We hope we get a real mix of people and that we can affect positive change locally,” she said. “We want people to learn about what refugees go through – the process they go through, the challenges they face – so there’s more understanding.”
To RSVP, call C.A.R.E. at 403-346-8818. Visit www.immigrant-centre.ca for more information.