International Learning Center students and staff were among over 100 dancers, musicians, and aid workers who attended this year’s World Refugee Day at Pere Marquette Park. A collaborative effort, it was the largest World Refugee Day celebration ever held in Milwaukee. “We wanted to highlight the contributions that the refugees bring to Milwaukee,” said Anna Bierer of Neighborhood House.
Presentations included personal stories, musicians, dance troupes from Hmong, Karenni, Iraqi, and West African cultures, and the US (represented by guitarist Billy Flynn).
Milwaukee Neighborhood News reported on the event: “Many [people] don’t have a clue that refugees exist in Milwaukee. We hope to advocate on the refugees’ behalf,” said event coordinator Natasa Torbica of the Milwaukee Area Refugee Consortium (MARC). “These people bring a lot of energy. They’re hard working; they’re survivors … It’s great to see success stories,” added Torbica, who works at Jewish Family Services.
Other sponsors included Catholic Charities USA, the International Institute of Wisconsin, Lutheran Social Services, Neighborhood House Milwaukee, Pan-African Community Association and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, all members of the consortium.
More at Milwaukee Neighborhood News.