In unison: Locals, immigrants celebrate World Refugee Day with party at music conservatory

Family fun day: Adam AlFaraji and his mother, Bana Alani, enjoyed the festivities at the World Refugee Day Festival at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music on June 23.
Brooklyn Paper
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Talk about an open guest list!

Big-hearted Brooklynites celebrated refugees and the local organizations that help them acclimate to life in Kings County at a Saturday bash at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music — a century-plus old institution with a diverse history that made it the perfect place for the festivities, a staffer said.

“The conservatory was founded 121 years ago by immigrants,” said Miranda Knutson, who oversees finance and special projects at the Prospect Heights conservatory.

The second-annual World Refugee Day Festival connected asylum seekers with city groups that help them resettle locally, such as the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and featured musical entertainment in the form of nearly 30 performers who showcased tunes from such countries as Cuba, Mexico, Russia, the Philippines, Nigeria, and Romania.

Face painters and henna tattoo artists joined in the fun, too, adorning youngsters and kids-at-heart with free body art at the event held in honor of World Refugee Day, which was on June 20.

The day of camaraderie showed refugees who flee their countries for Kings County that there are people here who are ready to greet them with open arms — even as many seeking asylum are being detained for illegally entering the United States — and who know how important immigrants are to the nation’s history, a leader of a Downtown-based refugee-support group said.

“America is built on refugees,” said Amed AlFaraji, the director of community outreach at the Arab-American Family Support Center. “We want them to feel they are welcome. We are here to support them.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 5:41 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Blaine says:
If they’re truly refugees, why aren’t they stopping in other safe countries along the way (like Mexico, Jordan, etc.)?
The truth is they’re economic migrants coming for money. That’s fine, but then should do the normal immigration paperwork and qualifications like anyone else. They’re making it harder for the people who really need help and cheating the system for their own economic advantage.
It’s a common, but unfair tactic to confuse immigrants and asylum seekers. 90% of them are just immigrants.
June 26, 2018, 6:26 am
Mustafa Khant from Atlantic Ave says:
I want my money back! I paid for a visa. a lawyer, medical tests to prove I don't have TB or AIDS, I waited years, then paid again.

I want my money back!
June 26, 2018, 7:48 am
Josh from NYC says:
Why on earth would these ‘refugees’ try to come into this country with little children knowing Trump is president? What are they fleeing exactly? Go to Cancun and take refuge in the swank resorts -the libs will come to your rescue if they dare try to boot you. Right? They are all-inclusive so you can take all your meals without having to leave the premises. All the SJWs could then protest in front of the Mexican embassy demanding the refugees be allowed to stay in the hotels otherwise they will boycott Mexico and all things Mexican. But I’m dreaming, this would never happen because it does fit the anti-Trump agenda.
June 26, 2018, 8:34 am
Raul from Brooklyn says:
My grandparents were observant Jews who escaped the Soviet Union, yet they were called Communists. My mother escaped the Hungarian Communist government, but she was separated from her parents, who were sent to jail for trying to come the United States. My grandmother got help from HIAS when she arrived to this country, and I and my family are proud to stand with others who are facing similar persecution.
June 26, 2018, 9:07 pm
Salmah Al Hallal says:
Listen, they don’t want to be here either! In Muslim countries women have to be virgins to get married. Many are too trampy to save it for marriage and then they have to leave. They’ve done disgusting sexual acts, which have been revealed and none of their cousins will marry them. They come to America because they think people will bang them, but they’re unattractive and no one wants to. That’s why they’re always so shouty and angry. Have some understanding!
June 27, 2018, 8:39 am
Maxine Floodwaters from The Hood says:
Oy vey Raul, they’re not being ‘persecuted’ get a grip
June 27, 2018, 9:26 am

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