For those who risk everything to find freedom and opportunity in a new land, it may be a bit of a surprise to them when they discover that not everyone in the country is welcoming and supportive. In fact, some immigrants may find that they face not only discrimination, but open hostility as well. One North Carolina town may have found a solution to some of the problems by holding their street festival.
The refugee celebration in Raleigh was recently held on the streets downtown. Many vendors were there to introduce the townsfolk to pieces of culture and customs from the many native lands that refugees and immigrants hail from. In addition to the vendors, there were also informational kiosks set up to provide information to many of the newcomers who might not have been aware of the programs that have been put in place to assist them in settling into their new life.
One example was a booth that distributed information concerning how to handle discrimination that many may face when attempting to find employment or obtain housing. The workers helped explain the discriminatory practices such as a landlord requiring documents that any other prospective tenant would not have to provide or even being charged higher rates for rent. Refugees were also informed about opportunities to seek education and language assistance.
The stated goal of the organizers was two-pronged -- inform immigrants and refugees about all that North Carolina has to offer by way of assistance programs and to help native residents get to know and welcome all of the immigrants who have risked everything to come to America. The festival attracted many who hopefully found information that could assist them in reporting discrimination while also providing more information about their rights as new residents in this country. For those immigrants who did not have the ability to attend the event but still have questions or concerns about issues they may be facing, there are many resources located within the state that can provide information that be of help to them in resolving difficulties they may be encountering in their new homeland.
Source: newsobserver.com, "World Refugee Day Festival in downtown Raleigh honored refugees and informed the public", Samantha Gilman, June 20, 2014