World Refugee Day is celebrated globally on June 20th. It is a time to honor the resilience, talents, and positive impact of refugees around the globe and here in Alaska. While the globe is facing the largest refugee crisis in history, the hope and dreams of resettled refugees are being lived out here in Alaska. Traditionally, Alaska has honored this day with a community celebration with speeches, dancing, and food. With the safety of Alaskans in mind, the traditional event has been canceled.
We welcome you instead to join us for World Refugee Week from June 19, 2020 – June 26, 2020. Whether it is joining one of our Zoom Community Conversations, celebrating from home, learning about resettlement, or simply sharing our social media posts, we appreciate your support in Welcoming Refugees here in Alaska.
Virtual Community Conversations
Tune into virtual conversations about refugee resettlement in Alaska featuring local leaders and community members. Sign up for each conversation below. Once you register, we will send an e-mail out about 5 days in advance with a reminder and Zoom login information.
Friday, June 19: Welcoming Anchorage
Anchorage is committed to being a welcoming community. The vision for Welcoming Anchorage is that Anchorage is a globally competitive, culturally vibrant community where every resident feels a sense of belonging and has equal opportunity to access all the community offers. Join the conversation about the work of Welcoming Anchorage, what’s next, and the experience of those who call Anchorage home.
- Mara Kimmel, Welcoming Anchorage Lead & First Lady
- Ethan Berkowitz, Mayor of Anchorage
- Rachel Peric, Executive Director, Welcoming America
- Bruce Bustamante, Anchorage Chamber of Commerce
- Hayat Khalaf, Education & Employment Specialist, RAIS
12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (AK)
Tuesday, June 23: Catholic Social Teachings & Refugee Resettlement
The Catholic Church in the United States cares deeply about the plight of refugees around the world and advocates for and participates in their resettlement in the United States. Join the discussion with Archbishop Bellisario and learn more about the Catholic Church’s position on refugees and resettlement, and how you can help stand in solidarity with refugees.
Archbishop Andrew E. Bellisario
12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (AK)
Thursday, June 25: 40 Years of Refugee Resettlement in the U.S.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the United States Refugee Resettlement work. Join RAIS Director Issa Spatrisano, CSS CEO Lisa Aquino, and one of our CSS Board Members to learn more about refugee resettlement over the last 40 years and what RAIS and CSS is doing to support this important work.
- Issa Spatrisano, RAIS Program Director, Catholic Social Services
- Lisa Aquino, CEO, Catholic Social Services
Celebrate at Home
Looking for more ways to get involved and show your support? There are lots of ways to welcome refugees in Anchorage.
Donate Items to Welcome New Alaskans
Help us welcome new Alaskans by donating items to CSS that will be delivered to refugee families throughout Anchorage and the Mat-Su. Items can be mailed or dropped off on Fridays at 3710 E 20th Avenue from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Please label items “RAIS”. Consider donating the following items to help our newest Alaskans feel at home:
- Sewing Kit
- Beginner Tool Kit
- Soccer Ball
- Children’s Books
- Gift Cards (e.g. Walmart, Fred Meyer, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s)
Donate to “Grow Local, Give Local”
Grow Local, Give Local is an innovative fund created to support local refugee farmers and provide fresh produce to Saint Francis House Food Pantry clients. When you donate to Grow Local, Give Local, you support a whole network of people. Your dollar will go toward purchasing locally grown produce from a Grow North Farm refugee entrepreneur and that food will then be given to Saint Francis House Food Pantry clients. By donating, you’re supporting our local economy and those in need. We are so excited about this initiative and how far reaching the fund will be!
To donate, click below and be sure to use the drop down option, “Use my donation to support” and choose “Grow Local, Give Local”
Shop at the Grow North Farm
Support local food, refugee entrepreneurs and your Anchorage neighbors when you visit Grow North Farm on Friday, June 26th (and all summer long!). The farmstand is open Monday – Friday from 4-7PM and located at 3601 Mountain View Drive.
Make a Card for a New Arrival Family
Say hello to a newly arrived refugee family! Create and mail your cards to CSS, and our staff will share them with families as they arrive in our community. Prepared cards can be mailed to:
Catholic Social Services Attn: RAIS
3710 E. 20th Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99508
Need inspiration? Download our advice for help getting started.
Contact Your Federal Elected Officials
Send a letter to your federal elected official expressing your support for refugee resettlement in Alaska. To get started, download and sign our letter templates for Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan.
Senator Lisa Murkowski
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Senator Dan Sullivan
302 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Learn About Refugee Resettlement
Get to know the refugee resettlement process, the positive impact of refugee families in the U.S., and how we can all continue the legacy of welcoming refugees in Alaska and beyond.
- Refugee Assistance & Immigration Services (CSS)
- U.S. Refugee Admissions Process (CSS)
- Resources (Office of Refugee Resettlement)
- Refugee Figures at a Glance (UNHCR)
- The Catholic Church’s long history of resettling refugees in the U.S. (Catholic News Agency)