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Peace Event



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Paul Hillman

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World Refugee Day Phoenix June 13, 2015
Celebrating Many Cultures - One Community

Since 2000, World Refugee Day has been celebrated annually around the world. This day was chosen by the United Nations General Assembly to generate awareness about protecting and preserving the rights and well-being of refugees. Refugees began resettling in Arizona in 1978 as the Indo-Chinese Refugee Program. Over the last five years, 19,488 refugees have resettled in Arizona, making Arizona one of the nation’s top refugee resettlement destination States. Since 1975, 76,684 refugees have made Arizona home. Phoenix has been hosting World Refugee Day since 2008.

The gathering occurred at Balsz Community Conference Room, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix

This photo narrative, review is dedicated to Mary Moore, a tireless community resident and activist in the Balsz Promise Neighborhood (BPN), and Lori Robinson, Balsz District Community Liaison Representative, whom worked to organize this amazing event which more than 500 persons of all ages and cultural backgrounds attended. The event was sponsored and organized by the Red Cross and a committee of partners. The Red Cross secured a grant to pay for the event.

Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship's & many other social service vendors were present.

Within the Balsz School Gym and the Balsz Community Conference room guest speakers addressed the audiences: Charles Shipman, Gail Knight, Councilwoman Kate Gallego, Congressman Ruben Gallego, Representative Ken Clark, Brad Kuluris, Vice-President of B & G Cubs of Metro Phoenix, and Key Note speaker Rose Mapendo.

There were also many traditional performances and arts programs for the children and adults...

The Cultural Arts Coalition and BPN Youth Advisory Council were present as volunteers to assist with many aspects of the day.

These young people assisted making beaded bracelets for the children and adults to select beads representative of children around the world. The elastic strand was then connected as a physical metaphor, reflecting upon the concept that children are more alike than unalike around the globe...

Thank you Holly, Joshua, Vyctoria, Dymond and Ebony!

Books were given away and story time enjoyed: another important community engagement and building activity of the day...A Cornerstone of a Peaceful and Tolerant society is Education. Artistic Expression is a means to engage is the act of Critical Thinking and Problem Solving leading to Knowledge.

Donated food from many local restaurants fed the 500 persons towards the end of the day... The BPN Youth Advisory Council participants had secured food handlers licenses through the efforts of Mary Moore. Some of the food was donated as well purchased with the Red Cross funding!

It takes a loving village to bring an event of celebrating humanity from around the planet together. I am because We are UBUNTU, a Nguni Bantu term roughly translating to "human kindness” from the Southern African region to also embrace "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.


Photo Narrative by judy butzine, MSW

Director of the Balsz Promise Neighborhood Youth Advisory Council

Director the Cultural Arts Coalition

The Mission of the Cultural Arts Coalition, Arizona: 501 (c) 3, a nonpartisan organization in existence since 2005: stimulates creative, analytical and leadership development for personal transformation and collective change through celebrations and multidisciplinary learning experiences.