“Certainly, for the refugees attaining their US citizenship at the ceremony and for the numerous other refugees who have been here awhile or who aspire to become citizens, the World Refugee Day celebration at the Texas History Museum has a profound personal significance. For me also, as a new volunteer at CST and a relatively new Austinite, it was a momentous occasion. I was, for the first time, immersed in the remarkably multifaceted, colorful, and festive manifestation of something that I had been inspired by indirectly. This was my chance to experience the size and the vibrancy of the refugee population firsthand.
Smiling Iraqi children crafted thank you cards at CST’s table. A Congolese teenager performed a powerful spoken word piece. A well-dressed (some in traditional attire from their homelands) crowd ate delicious food and drummed together. An Iraqi man played an evocative piece on the oud. Downstairs, organizations committed to helping refugees handed out literature and engaged guests, while families posed for professional photographs. I found myself wanting to take photos, a sign that I was feeling inspired – happy to be in a city like Austin where this is possible and happy to bear witness to this tribute to survivors. Their joyful energy was infectious. I had a sense of being in a realm in which I want to spend more time, of being around people I want to know better.”
– Kevin L., CST Volunteer

Multiple musicians and bands from all over the world performed at World Refugee Day. Photos courtesy of Kevin L.