The World Refugee Day rally was an exciting success! Celebrations included the Montbello High School drumline and a Bollywood-style dance routine performed by Deepali Lindblom and Roshni, a group which consists of many youth who came to the U.S. as refugees. Interfaith Alliance of Colorado led the rally in a prayer, and the crowd of around 250 people listened as refugees shared their stories.
Travis Weiner shared about his experiences on tour in Iraq and the good people he encountered there. He highlighted the large number of refugees who were admitted to the U.S. during the Vietnam War and mentioned how immigrants and refugees make valuable impacts on our society. Nga Vuong-Sandoval spoke of her journey traveling to the U.S. as a Vietnamese refugee, riding as a toddler on a cargo ship not designed to carry people, and transferring from refugee camps in Alabama and Arkansas until finally settling in Colorado. She is now an Investigator at the Colorado Department of Law, an affiliate professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver and a member of Denver’s Asian-American Pacific-Islander Commission. Daniala Mohammadi shared the trauma of her experience in Afghanistan, and said she would have grown up in her hometown if she not was not forced to flee at age ten because of the Taliban. She just graduated from Denver South High school and earned a full-ride scholarship to the University of Colorado, where she plans to study biomedical engineering.
Denver’s first youth poet laureate, Toluwanimi Obiwole, shared her poetry on how she made Denver her home after immigrating from Nigeria as a child. Governor Hickenlooper spoke last, talking about Colorado’s rich refugee history, read a proclamation declaring diversity makes the state stronger, and officially making June 20th World Refugee Day in the state of Colorado. The event drew all walks of life to celebrate refugees in Colorado. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s celebration of World Refugee Day!