Wausau Pilot & Review

June 20 is World Refugee Day and five local organizations are celebrating the day.

Celebrations will take place on Saturday, June 18, according to a news release.

The Ethiopian Community Development Council, the American Hispanic Association, New Beginnings for Refugees, the Community Foundation of Northcentral Wisconsin, and the Hmong American Center, Inc. will host an event on Saturday to celebrate, a statement made available by HAC said.

The United Nations designated June 20 to recognize refugees around the globe “by celebrating the strength and courage of those who have been forcibly displaced by conflict or persecution.” World Refugee Day is also an occasion to build empathy and understanding, the statement said.

Since December last year, Wausau has been home to refugees from Afghanistan after being approved as a host city by the federal government. ECDC, one of nine resettlement agencies, opened a local branch in the city to coordinate the resettlement. About 100 refugees have been resettled in the area.

Wausau and Marathon County have hosted refugees in the past, specifically Hmong refugees from Southeast Asia during and after the Vietnam War.

“Participation in World Refugee Day is an opportunity to increase awareness of the backgrounds and contributions of refugees right here in Wausau and central Wisconsin – some who have been a part of our communities for decades and others who have only recently arrived,” said Adam VanNoord, the Director of ECDC’s resettlement agency. 

The celebration will be held at The 400 Block in Downtown Wausau from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be a variety of performances, food, and activities from the Hispanic, Afghan and Hmong communities, the press release added.

See the full release, below.