Every year on June 20, the United Nations and countless civic groups around the world celebrate World Refugee Day to honor the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who were forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.
The Milwaukee Area Refugee Consortium (MARC) hosted a celebration at Pere Marquette Park downtown Tuesday evening for refugees who have found asylum in Milwaukee. It was free and open to the public, and featured cultural performances, music, food and a variety of activities for children.
The history of refugee resettlement in Wisconsin dates back to 1975 when the first Hmong refugees were welcomed to the state. In the early 90s there was a large wave of refugees from the former Soviet Union, and in the mid and late 90s other refugee groups started arriving from a variety of countries: Former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Somalia, Congo, Afghanistan and others.
More recent groups arrived from Burma, Iraq, Syria, Bhutanese from Nepal, and Eritrea.