By Mike McLean, Immigrant Affairs Division Director
World Refugee Day will not only show who we are, but what we can become.
As millions around the globe recognize World Refugee Day, Jersey City will shine on June 20, showcasing community action, public and non-profit partnerships, and the resilience of our newest refugee and asylee neighbors.
• The Division of Immigrant Affairs will publish a comprehensive study of refugee and asylee resettlement in Jersey City. Conducted by Church World Service, the report informs how our collaborative public health strategy can better address short-term resettlement needs to ensure long-term citywide gains. According to the New American Economy, refugees make enormous economic contributions, become citizens, and consistently engage in democracy.
• Mayor Steven M. Fulop will sign a Mayoral Proclamation on Jersey City’s commitment to refugees and asylees. Himself a decedent of Holocaust survivors, the Mayor will highlight Jersey City’s role in welcoming refugees resettled by the United Nations, as well as asylum-seekers released from ICE detention centers.
• Welcome Home, one of Jersey City’s newest non-profits, will invite recently resettled refugees to share their testimonies and enjoy foods from their home countries. With Saint Aedan’s Migrant Center, VOICE, and others, our community of helper-advocates are uniting across religious and socio-economic barriers in our city and in the world at large.
As the June 20 World Refugee Day approaches, we should remember that Jersey City is no stranger to welcoming the stranger . Before Lady Liberty stood in the harbor, and long before the 1951 Convention on Refugees, our city has welcomed waves of displaced people fleeing famine, war, and totalitarianism.
Today, Jersey City responds to global refugee crises with grassroots and governmental action, to provide sanctuary, and to invite our new refugee and asylee neighbors to grow with us. World Refugee Day will not only show who we are, but what we can become.
Jersey City is no stranger to welcoming the stranger.