June marks the beginning of summer for many of us, but it also marks the start of another significant event for the Courageous Kitchen and many refugee communities across the globe. Every year in mid-June, several organizations host what has been declared as ‘Refugee Week’, with June 20th serving as the week’s capstone — this year will commemorate the 20th Annual World Refugee Day! As we join in the double-decade long celebration, we urge you to also join us by honoring the resilience and contributions of refugees and asylum seekers worldwide by taking action in the following ways:
- 1) Listen – All over the world events are happening for world refugee day. Be sure you find a local event and show your support by attending and listening to the stories of struggle and triumph. Events range from food tasting parties to discussion panels, join or start a conversation near you!
- 2) Read/Watch – While the world is struck with the scale and frequency of people fleeing conflict today, there are still plenty of lessons to learn from the past, and victories to commemorate. Even on this blog we’ve featured the stories of a sticky rice farmer turned aspiring chef, a mid-life crisis that propelled a woman born in a refugee camp to start DC first Lao restaurant, and a list of the 5 amazing refugee chefs featured in the recent television series Refugee Chef.
- 3) Cook/Eat – This may come as no surprise, but we believe the kitchen is one of the best places to learn about someone new, and connect with their culture. In diverse places in the west, we may take for granted how someone, or their ancestors, made harrowing journeys and sacrifices. World Refugee Day gives us an excuse to ask people about their heritage, culture, and an opportunity to celebrate these differences over something that binds us all, food!
- 4) Share – In today’s political climate it can be unpopular to show your support publicly for refugees. Refugees are used as a political tool in some countries to propel xenophobic campaigns and policies. Wherever we are in the world, we can show our support for refugees and insist people recognize their human rights. If you join in the celebrations, document them by using the hashtags #RefugeeWeek2018 and #WithRefugees.
- 5) Give Back – When you connect with your local refugee organizations find a way to donate, volunteer, or give back another way. These organizations are often underfunded and understaffed (speaking from experience), so if you can find a way to donate funds or time consistently for a few months, you can really make a difference for people in need and small organizations serving them. We’re asking people interested in supporting our mission to help by sponsoring a family.
Doing anything special this World Refugee Day? Please reach out and let us know!