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Wausau celebrates World Refugee Day

This is the first time the city has held an event to recognize the day
Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 10:47 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Several area groups in Wausau came together to put on the city’s first World Refugee Day event Saturday, held at the 400 Block in downtown Wausau.

World Refugee Day is an international day that recognizes the sacrifices refugees have made around the world. With Wausau’s diverse background of culture, it only made sense to have a celebration that coincided with the day.

“Seeing how it all came together, with just so many groups involved is just so great,” said Adam VanNoord, Executive Director of the Wausau Refugee Resettlement Agency. “I’m just excited to hear some stories and it’s fun seeing families enjoy themselves.”

The event featured guest speakers, music, games, food and more. Groups involved included the Ethiopian Community Development Council, the American Hispanic Association, New Beginnings for Refugees, the Community Foundation of Northcentral Wisconsin, the Hmong American Center and more volunteers.

“It’s not just refugees. There’s a lot of natural migration coming into our area,” said VonNoord. “It’s important to embrace that diversity, but also to celebrate those differences in a fun environment.”

One of the diverse backgrounds in Wausau is the Afgan community, which has had refugees come to the area this year. For Sayed Nabir, seeing the welcome nature of his new home is quite rewarding.

“It’s wonderful for me,” said Nabir. “It’s my first time as an Afghan refugee being part of this kind of event so it’s wonderful we’re seeing diverse people from different cultures and we’re meeting different people so that’s great.”

Nabir is the Community Integration Program Manager for the ECDC.

The official World Refugee Day worldwide is Monday, June 20.

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