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Albuquerque Shines a Light on World Refugee Day

The community comes together to recognize the strength and courage of the refugee community.
June 22, 2024

Today, the community came together on Civic Plaza to honor the refugee community. The 2024 World Refugee Day on Civic Plaza began with a naturalization ceremony that welcomed 79 new citizens. Following the ceremony guest speakers, including Deputy CAO Matthew Whelan, shared their commitment to the refugee community.

"Most of us will never know the toll refugees experience just to be able to create a safe life for themselves and their families," said Mayor Tim Keller. "Albuquerque has been, and remains, an immigrant-friendly city and safe space for families of all backgrounds."

Every minute about 20 people leave their homes to escape war, persecution, or terror. World Refugee Day is an international day to recognize and honor the bravery of refugees around the world.

"The refugee community is vibrant and full of home," said Beatriz Valencia, Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Liaison. "Their contributions to our city make us stronger."

In addition to the guest speakers, the event hosted performers from around the world, sharing their traditional songs, dances, and clothing. Music and dance were not the only way to be able to experience different cultures, food and culture pavilions from around the world were also available to explore.

"The Office of Equity & Inclusion and the Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs will continue to ensure that Albuquerque maintains its immigrant-friendly status," said Sonya Lara, Director of OEI. "We are one city regardless of where you came from or what your background is."

The event was organized by the City of Albuquerque, APS Newcomers and Refugee Program, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Family Services, United Voices for Newcomers Rights, UNM Hospital Community Engagement Office, Vizionz Sankofa, Umoja, Centro Savila, New Mexico Asian Family Center, and Babel Translation Services.