The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees kicked off its June Event Series today in preparation for World Refugee Day.
"I did not get right to vote, right to buy land and so on. So America gave me the opportunity to come here. I think in America, there is freedom, equality, and humanity," says Nepalese refugee Narayan Pokhrel.
Utica has a refugee population of nearly 12 percent, hosting more than 13 thousand refugees. The Refugee Center is gearing up for World Refugee Day with a poster exhibition in City Hall. Coordinator Jennifer Chard says area residents and refugees are welcome to the events.
"Not everyone understands who the refugees are, or where they came from or why they're here. They are people like you or me, they have hobbies and interests, they have talents. And we want to really welcome them and have the community understand them," says Chard.
The Refugee Center is hosting the poster and essay exhibition in City Hall with the hopes of bringing community members and refugees together.
"For the community members to come here, and see the refugees, see what they're doing, see how they feel, and see their reactions to Utica. I think for them to really get in touch with the refugee population will be a really positive thing for the community," says Chard.
After being in the U.S. for just one year, one refugee says he finally sees a future for himself and his family.
"When I come to America the first time, I feel the safety, I feel the future will be good for me and my family," says Iraqi refugee Hussam Abdulrazzaq.
World Refugee Day is on June 20th and the Refugee Center will be holding events all month long. For a complete list of their events, visit http://www.mvrcr.org/world-refugee-day-2012.