Refugees from Myanmar, Somalia, Iraq, Bhutan and 15 other countries will gather with the International Rescue Committee in Stone Mountain on Saturday, Nov. 19 to celebrate Thanksgiving for the first time.
Most of these refugees have known great turmoil in their lives. They have all been forced to flee war or political oppression. Many have spent years living in limbo in refugee camps around the world. All of them have been given sanctuary here in the United States and are eager to embrace what the United States has to offer.
At this tenth annual Thanksgiving celebration of the IRC, refugees will be served traditional Thanksgiving fare – roast turkey and all of the traditional fixings. Youth groups from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Metro Atlanta and the Hamzah Islamic Center will be bringing food and games for the refugee guests. The Atlanta celebration is just one of several Thanksgiving events that IRC offices around the country will be hosting this week, including in San Francisco, Baltimore, Los Angeles and New York.
“Introducing refugees to the quintessential American holiday tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving is a wonderful way to make them feel a part of the fabric of our community,” said Ellen Beattie, IRC Atlanta’s executive director.
Bibi Siddiqa, who was forced to flee Afghanistan with her two daughters in 1996, will be at the event. For 15 years, the family lived in a refugee camp in Pakistan. Bibi is particularly thankful at this time of year for all of the opportunities that her family has in the US. Not only are they self-sufficient, but both daughters are receiving formal education, something they were unable to do in the past.
What: International Rescue Committee in Atlanta First Thanksgiving Feast
Where: St. Timothy’s United Methodist C, 5365 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain
When: Saturday, Nov. 19, 1-3 p.m.