Maritimers lace up to raise awareness for World Refugee Day
It’s truly a global movement.
Child refugees and their families living in Brazil gathered Friday night to raise awareness about the record number of displaced people around the world.
The United Nations say one in every 122 people is either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum.
That’s nearly 60 million people.
If all in one place, they would make up the 24th largest country in the world.
It’s the reason so many Maritimers hit the streets Saturday, showing solidarity with those who have nowhere to go.
Gerry Mills, director of operations at the Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia, says the numbers are truly staggering.
“June 20th is World Refugee Day, so we’re walking for refugees to highlight the fact that there are 15 million people who have been displaced from their homes and from their countries,” explains Mills, “and an extra 28 million who have been displaced from their homes, so what we are trying to do is also highlight their contributions to the community here.”
More than a hundred supporters also walked in uptown Saint John.
The group ‘PRUDE,’ which stands for Pride of Race, Unity and Dignity through Education, was one of the organizers.
Officials say people of all nationalities took part.
“It gives them a sense of belonging,” says Sheri McAulay, cultural awareness facilitator, “at the same time; it opens our eyes to the new face of Saint Jonh.”
The United Nations say Syria has now overtaken Afghanistan as the largest source of refugees in the world.
Organizers in the Maritimes say world leaders need to take steps to address the crisis, just as they did in their own small way Saturday.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Suzette Belliveau.