World Refugee Day event features Concord performers

Monitor staff
Published: 6/23/2022 4:33:41 PM

A Phillips Exeter Academy student is organizing a World Refugee Day event Saturday in Manchester, to raise greater awareness about the struggles that refugees face and celebrate their contributions to New Hampshire.

Aaron Joy says he has always been passionate about helping refugees since his father fled civil war and ethnic persecution in Sri Lanka. This year, he wrote to the city of Manchester asking for a formal recognition of the day, and Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig responded by proclaiming June 20 World Refugee Day in Manchester.

“I urge all members of our community to recognize the urgency to address the refugee crisis and support efforts to create a stronger, safer and more welcoming society,” Craig said.

World Refugee Day, which is recognized globally on June 20, was designated by the United Nations to celebrate people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution.

Saturday’s celebration will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Manchester YWCA’s SNHU Center for New Americans. The celebration will feature speeches from community leaders, and musical performances from Afropop/Hip-hop artist and Concord High alumnus Martin Toe, and Nepali classical musicians Hari and Prem (Harimaya Adhikari and Prem Sagar Khatiwada), who are faculty members at Concord Community Music School.

“I’m looking forward to all of the community building that will take place: between resettled refugees as well as with the larger Manchester and Concord community,” Joy said. “Through this event, our goal is to send a strong message of welcome to resettled refugees in the region, raise awareness about the struggles that refugees face, and celebrate resettled refugees' contributions to New Hampshire.”

Eileen O

Eileen O'Grady is a Report for America corps member covering education for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. O’Grady is the former managing editor of Scope magazine at Northeastern University in Boston, where she reported on social justice issues, community activism, local politics and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a native Vermonter and worked as a reporter covering local politics for the Shelburne News and the Citizen. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, The Bay State Banner, and VTDigger. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in politics and French from Mount Holyoke College, where she served as news editor for the Mount Holyoke News from 2017-2018.

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