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Contact: Nicolle Trudeau
520-721-4444
ntrudeau@refugeefocus.org

Tucson Celebrates World Refugee Day 2015  

Tucson, Arizona, June 2015  – Refugee Focus, a division of Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, is celebrating World Refugee Day Tucson 2015 on June 16th from 4pm – 9pm with a special ceremony honoring Exceptional Employers at 6:00pm. Festivities take place at their downtown Tucson location 120 N. Stone, Suite 220r and outdoor patio. The annual event brings refugee community members and refugee service organizations together with the community in honor of World Refugee Day. Globally recognized on June 20th, World Refugee Day was designated by the United Nations in 2001, the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (CRSR) to draw public attention to the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict and persecution.

Tucsonans are invited to celebrate World Refugee Day Tucson 2015 a few days early on June 16th.  The date was selected out of respect for the Holy month of Ramadan beginning June 17th. Families and friends are invited to participate by sharing a meal, through music making and sharing artistic expression with our newest Tucsonans; individuals and families from Iraq, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cuba and Central America. People who were once classified as refugees have now become upstanding members of our community raising families, holding down jobs, pursuing higher education, contributing to our economy and adding their unique, diverse culture and beauty to the Tucson tapestry. The event will celebrate their successes while honoring individuals who have had to flee war throughout the world. 

Refugee Focus is concurrently celebrating their one-year anniversary in their downtown location. Program Director Nicolle Trudeau chose downtown for her agency’s relocation so that as refugees acclimate to Tucson they are immediately immersed in the urban center of their new community. Trudeau also wanted to motivate her staff to think outside the box in serving their clients. The results have been positively dramatic.  Refugee Focus had their highest employment rate in years with 95% of their clients placed in jobs within six month in 2014. Always looking for special opportunities, their employment team placed 70 refugees as extras in the Warner Brothers feature film ‘Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’ filmed in Deming, New Mexico. The staff continues to initiate innovative projects such as a Woman’s Empowerment program, mock employment interviews with Tucson Presidio Rotary Club, Family-Fun night with Jam 2 Grow, Friends of the World youth group, and a new youth and family resource center led by School Coordinator, Julie Kasper.

World Refugee Day June 16th festivities are free, although donations are gratefully accepted. The event will be held in the outdoor patio located on the 2nd story of the historic Pioneer building at 120 North Stone Avenue, Suite 220R in an area that once housed the Pioneer Hotel pool. The dirt filled pool and nondescript patio will undergo a make-over. Colorful mosaics, green plantings, flowers, vibrant murals, festive garden art, and fabric shade structures will add color and life to the surroundings. “The mixture of creative positive energy and activity that will come together on June 16th on our patio is symbolic of the changes most refugees undergo when they arrive in America. It represents a fresh start to new lives here in Tucson. As new residents integrate into our Tucson community, they also share their beauty, skills and talents,” commented Trudeau.  

AFrican dancers WRD14