We’ve received a lot of questions over the last few days about the purpose and goals of the Utah March for Refugees. For us, this is march is personal, either because we ARE refugees or because we’ve come to feel deep love for the refugee community. There are a lot of reasons to march, and a lot we hope to accomplish.
Refugees are one of the world’s most marginalized groups, and often their stories are overlooked or forgotten as the conversation about them shift to politics, national security, and the economy. These things are important, but it is critical we remember that each refugee is a living, breathing person with a story to tell. Many refugees plan to attend the march, and this is a great opportunity for Utahns to get out there and meet them. Following the march, a refugee-led program will be held in the rotunda of the State Capitol. We hope you’ll come and learn about their experiences, hear about what they’ve suffered, and understand their hopes and dreams.
There will also be a number of refugee community and support groups handing out information. If you’ve ever wondered how to get involved, this is your chance to connect with some truly incredible organizations and find out how you can help and learn more about refugee issues. Rub shoulders with representatives from Equality Utah, Catholic Community Services, The International Rescue Committee, Utah Refugee Civic Community, Comunidades Unidas, PANDOS, Refugee & Immigrant Center – Asian Association of Utah, Utah Refugee Connection, Utah Health & Human Rights, Women of the World, and more.
In addition to these organizations, several thousand Utahns plan to attend, and we hope this event fosters a great sense of community between refugees and non-refugees in Utah. Just showing up and visibly demonstrating your support can be HUGE for those feeling unwelcome or unsafe in light of recent events and rhetoric. Have you ever been the new kid in school? Remember how uneasy you felt, how alone? Having someone come up, introduce themselves, and invite you to sit with them at lunch was probably a huge relief. We have a lot of new neighbors here in Utah, and many of them feel that same way. Let’s all be the kid who welcomes new people to our lunch table.
Will a march fix everything? No, and we know that. But we hope that after showing up, meeting and hearing from Utah’s refugees, and feeling the energy of the crowd, you’ll take the next steps to help refugees. We hope you’ll call your state representatives and urge them to publicly take a stand of behalf or refugees. Many of Utah’s leaders have stayed silent on this issue, and we need those in power to speak up.
There are so many other reasons to march, and so much more we hope to accomplish, but we hope you now have a sense of what we can achieve if we all show up and stand together.
We invite you join us in honoring, supporting, and celebrating Utah’s vibrant refugee community.