On Saturday, June 18, The Center hosted its annual World Refugee Day celebration at Utica’s Hanna Park. The event—which featured ethnic food and performances, local organizations and businesses, and a citizenship ceremony—was held in observation of the day officially designated by the United Nations for the purpose of “celebrating and honoring refugees from around the world.”
Attendees were first invited to welcome and applaud the accomplishments of several new Americans at a citizenship ceremony conducted onstage. Following remarks from The Center’s executive director Shelly Callahan and Mohawk Valley Community College president Randall VanWagoner, citizenship was conferred upon former refugees and immigrants from around the world in the presence of friends, family, and other community members.
A wide range of activities were available for the duration of the celebration, which featured local food trucks, cultural dance performances, poetry, children’s crafts, and vendors from in and around Utica. Educational displays about migration and refugees were also on hand to reiterate the theme of the day, which was—despite blustery and damp conditions—ultimately well-attended.
Originally published on News Channel 2, 6/18/2022
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