10.5.2006 Advocate For Refugees Event


This is a message from Illinois Society for International Development (ISID)


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CITIZENS MEET TO ADVOCATE FOR REFUGEES


DURING CHICAGO’S IMMIGRANT AND                                   
REFUGEE WEEK, OCTOBER 2006

The City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR), through its
Advisory Council on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, will spearhead a
refugee advocacy event in celebration of Immigrant and Refugee Week and
United Nations Day. The event will showcase Chicago and the State of
Illinois as the home to thousands of refugees past and present, and
consequently, a microcosm of the international community. The local
observance of Immigrant and Refugee Week was initiated in 2001 to
coincide with United Nations Day, October 24, the anniversary of the
United Nations’ founding, and has been held annually ever since.

This event, held at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave, Chicago


on 5th of October 2006 from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m., will be free


and open to the public and will include the following:

“UPROOTED AND WAREHOUSED
REFUGEES FROM DARFUR TO BURMA
A TIME FOR ACTION”


Advocacy Forum
4 p.m.-6 p.m.
State Refugee Coordinator Edwin Silverman will moderate the forum
featuring a keynote address by State Senator Jacqueline Collins,
followed by a panel discussion. Clemantine Wamariya, Rwandan Refugee
Essayist, Jenny Hwang, World Relief National Policy Director, and Saw
Daniel Htun, a Burmese Refugee Activist will serve as panelists.
Panelists will discuss the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan and the
implementation of the material support bar on refugees resettling in the
U.S.

Unveiling Reception
6 p.m.-7 p.m.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and
National Geographic Photo Exhibit, Surviving Darfur, by Helene Caux will
be unveiled. The photos depict the humanitarian crisis that has
resulted from the outbreak of fighting in the Darfur region of southern
Sudan that began in February 2003. The exhibit will include photos
taken at camps established for displaced persons in the Darfur region of
Sudan as well as those taken at refugee camps in Eastern Chad.



When asked, What would you hope people take away from this exhibit? Caux replied,


“Awareness. It’s been really hard … to attract the attention of people, of politicians. Because it’s not such a visual crisis, in the sense that you never have thousands of people crossing the border in one group, like you did in Rwanda.

The border is 800 kilometers (500 miles) long, so they cross in little groups, but you still have 200,000 refugees in Chad and two million people displaced in Darfur.

My main goal with the pictures was to document human rights abuses and the catastrophic humanitarian situation. For me, it’s a way of making people aware of what’s happening in the world so they get out of their daily routine and try to maybe make a difference by joining the humanitarian organizations, funding the humanitarian organizations, by talking about what’s happening in Darfur in schools.

I see my work in a way as a duty of history to document what has happened at a certain time so that people don’t forget.”



Attendees at the event will be encouraged to participate in advocacy
activities such as letter-writing campaigns to legislators requesting
humanitarian aid to Darfur and support for a loosening of the current
definition of material support.

This event is co-sponsored by: Chicago Commission on Human Relations
Advisory Council on Immigrant & Refugee Affairs; Heartland Alliance for
Human Need & Human Rights; Interfaith Refugee & Immigration Ministries;
Sudanese Community Association of Illinois, World Relief-Chicago, 17
Years and Counting, Cambodian Association of Illinois, Catholic
Charities, Catholic Relief Services, Changing Worlds, Chinese Mutual Aid
Association, Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, Hebrew
Immigrant Aid Society, Instituto del Progreso Latino, Lao American
Community Service, Pan-African Association of Chicago, Southeast Asia
Center, UIC International Studies Program, the 46th Ward-Alderman Helen
Schiller, the United African Organization, UN Association of the
USA-Greater Chicago Chapter, Vietnamese Association of Illinois,
Illinois Society for International Development.

Generous funding for this event is provided by the Illinois Department
of Human Services Bureau of Refugee & Immigrant Services and Truman
College.


For more information, the public is encouraged to call (773) 262-7633.

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