Minneapolis marks World Refugee Dayby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
MINNEAPOLIS -- Hundreds of Minnesota natives and refugees from around the world trudged through rain-soaked grass on Saturday to celebrate Twin Cities World Refugee Day at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis.
The annual event includes performances, games and food. It's meant to recognize refugees living in Minnesota and raise awareness about the problems they face.
Master of Ceremonies Trong Nguyen says the event is also a place where longtime Minnesotans get to know people new to the state.
"We try to let the American people know where we come from," Nguyen says, "and how long we've been, and how we work hard here, and how we let the people know where we are and who we are."
Nearly 100,000 refugees have been resettled in Minnesota since 1979.
Ibe Kaba, a refugee from Sierra Leone, said he was glad to see many longtime Minnesotans at the event.
"That tells me that you know my neighbors here at least want to know more about mine and people like me -- our story," he says. "Because sometimes being a refugee is living with nightmares. Knowing that you know your neighbors at least care about what is that's roaming around in your head -- what makes you who you are today -- that's very encouraging to me."
The largest groups of refugees in Minnesota are Somali and Hmong. Many of the most recent refugees to arrive in the state are from Bhutan and Iraq.