Clients and staff of the Russian Community Association of MA celebrated World Refugee Day on June 15, 2015. The community commemorated the day with food, dancing, and fun.
The ceremonies of the day commenced with guest speaker, Hong Net, a Councillor at Large for the City of Lynn. Net is originally an immigrant from the southeast Asian nation of Cambodia, and has been living in the United States for the last thirty years. Net opened his speech by giving a description of his job duties, and what it means for him to be a city councillor. As an immigrant himself, who came from an impoverished rural area, he was able to provide the clients with inspiration. Net stated that this opportunity would have never been possible for him if he and his family had not made the long and difficult journey to the United States. It took him many years along with dedicated effort and perseverance, but he assured the clients that they have now been given the same opportunity.
Following Net’s welcoming speech, the New American Center was presented with an extraordinary gift that will forever sit in the halls of the center. Local artist Mary Taddie, along with the Iraqi senior group that meets every Monday morning, spent many months breaking different colored pieces of glass and strategically placing them on a wooden panel to create a beautiful mural. This mural has the word “welcome” written in many of the different languages that are represented at the New American Center, including Russian, Arabic, Somali, and Burmese.
The morning carried on with a giant celebration accompanied by music, dancing, and food. Two former clients, Ali Abdalkadir and Adnan Al Juboori performed their musical stylings which truly impressed the crowd. Ali performed his musical act on the violin, playing some classic melodies from his homeland of Iraq. His playing was soon accompanied by the voices of clients who sang along, reminiscing abou their native land.
After Ali's performance, Adnan Al Juboori and his musical partner performed traditional Arabic music, which shortly turned into a dancing celebration joined by all ethnicities. It was a day to remember for everyone. Our community members here at the New American Center are always to grateful of the opportunity to engage in their traditional cultural practices, especially in their new home; and staff members likewise are so happy to witness and be a part of the ever-growing cultural diversity of the New American Center.