Refugees come together to celebrate World Refugee Day

Hundreds of refugees from across the Texas Panhandle celebrated World Refugee Day Sunday at the Amarillo Civic Center.

The United Nations and countless civic groups around the world recognize World Refugee Day on June 20


every year. Sunday afternoon, the city of Amarillo acknowledged the holiday and celebrated the cityâ??s growing refugee population.

â??We embrace the richness that they bring into our community and that we are all one in this world,â?? said Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle Nancy Koons. â??Weâ??re here to support them to bring them from survival to empowerment. We want to help them get from not just being able to survive with a minimum wage job to really reach their American dream.â??

World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations to honor individuals who were forced to flee their homes because of war and violence.

James Seicawcaw came to the United States almost 5 years ago as a refugee from Burma. He is looking forward to graduating college in a week and getting his citizenship in August and continuing to turn his life around.

â??Itâ??s kind of like a little bit hard for us but I wonâ??t give up, so everyone can do it, I can do it,â?? said Seicawcaw. â??My goal is to grab my new citizenship, my new experience so I just want to spread my knowledge to the world.â??

Coming together to celebrate World Refugee Day alongside other refugees meant a lot.

â??We know how they feel, how we get into the country,â?? said Seicawcaw.

Although the day marks a celebration, it also evokes a lot of emotion in many of the refugees. While being in the safety of the United States and no longer living in a warzone, many remember that it wasnâ??t that long ago that this day seemed nearly unfeasible.

â??It wasnâ??t possible for many people to escape from the war zones to the safety of the United States,â?? said Somalia Refugee Abdirahman Ibrahim. â??It has been a long journey but it is finally worth wild.â??

Now working as a case manager at the Refugee Service of Texas, Ibrahim is excited for his future in the United States.

â??This is going to be my country, my home, my place,â?? said Ibrahim.

For more information on the Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle, visit

For more information on the United Nations, visit