Welcoming Week In Salt Lake City is a celebration to highlight the contributions of immigrants and refugees and the role they play in the capital city’s vibrant and diverse community.
Thursday, Mayor Jackie Biskupski hailed them as important members of the community.
“Salt Lake City has long recognized that immigrants and refugees make our communities stronger economically, socially and culturally,” the mayor said. “Salt Lake City stands as a welcoming city and believes that all people, regardless of where they were born or what they look like,are valued contributors to our shared success and future.”
Among other things, the week includes the “We Are All Dreamers” march Saturday in support of beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recently slated for the trash bin by President Donald Trump.
It begins at noon at the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building, 125 S. State, and ends at the Capitol Building, where several speakers will address marchers.
Other activities during the week include “Forced From Home,” an interactive exhibition by Doctor‘s Without Borders on the experiences of refugees. It runs from Sept. 19 – 24 at Library Square.
Also Sept. 19, a free screening of the Sonita, the story of an Afghan refugee who fights against being sold into marriage, will be shown at The Leonardo Museum.
For more information on Welcoming Week, visit http://slco.org/welcoming-salt-lake.
Biskupski said Democrats in Congress are working to renew DACA. Although Trump seemed agreeable to press for such legislative action late Wednesday, by Thursday he was backtracking in the wake of rebukes from the far right.
Nonetheless, Biskupski said she is hopeful the president can push through the criticism for the Dreamers.
Once a refugee herself, Fatima Dirie, Refugee Community Liaison for Salt Lake City, said refugees have faced tremendous obstacles to get here. But they have become productive citizens through help from many individuals and organizations.
“Our community is well-known for its welcoming spirit and for embracing diversity,” she said. “It’s a source of community strength.”
Advocate Pamela Atkinson congratulated the mayor and others for hosting Welcoming Week.
“My life has been enriched by the refugees who have come to Salt Lake City,” she said. “We have learned so much from them.”
Over 60,000 refugees live in Utah. Some 34,000 of them call Salt Lake City home.