Thursday, June 28, 2012

RefugeeFEST a huge success!

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped make Tucson's 4th annual World RefugeeFEST the biggest and greatest yet!  An estimated 2,000-2,500 people attended RefugeeFEST to cheer on soccer teams, have their faces painted, attend the new citizens' ceremony, survey international crafts, and enjoy performances by singing and dance groups.  Congratulations goes out to FC Simba, the winning soccer team with members from Somalia and Sudan.

One of my favorite parts of RefugeeFEST was when organizers of the citizenship ceremony turned the mic over to newly-American refugee children.  The first boy, in suit and tie, turned to his parents, who stood bashfully against a side wall:  I want to thank my parents, for all of their work to bring me here.  I'm just so happy to be living in America, and it wouldn't have happened without all of their work.  A girl dressed in traditional head-to-toe shawls ventured quietly up to the mic next:  It's so great to be a citizen...Thank you to my parents and to God. 

The ceremony honored 50 children who earned their citizenship alongside their parents.  Way to go, new citizens!

(left) Rebecca, a licensed cosmetologist from Liberia, braids hair at RefugeeFEST. (above) Rebecca got her hands on Barbara too - looking good!  Find Rebecca at Beckie's Best Braids (in Julia's) at 4221 East Grant Road.  Phone:  520-440-6113 or 520-721-5009.  Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00-5:00.  At RefugeeFEST, Rebecca also sold African clothing, jewelry, and artwork.

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