PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — At Philadelphia’s World Refugee Day, Mayor Kenney welcomed a roomful of refugees and their advocates, to raise awareness about their plight.
A handful of refugees, in this country for just 6-7 months, were asked two questions: “What do you value most about your new community, and what do you hope to contribute?”
“My name is Ahmed, from Syria.”
Nasar Saradar, a Syrian refugee who has lived in Philadelphia for a year, served as an interpreter for new arrivals, like Ahmed.
Saradar translated for Ahmed, “He says Philadelphia is a peaceful place, and one thing he noticed is that everyone wants to help. He feels the people of Philadelphia are diverse, so he doesn’t feel isolated, or like a stranger.”
“Hello all , my name is Mustafa.”
“He says everybody he has met is productive, Saradar said interpreting for Mustafa. “He doesn’t want to be a burden on the shoulders of others. He wants to be a productive member of society.”
Last year, there were 86,000 refugees admitted to the US, including about 800 in Philadelphia.
Mayor Kenney told them to ignore those who are against refugees.
“There are more people that want you here, that respect you, that want you to be successful, than there are the ignorant groups,” said Kenney.
“I want you to assimilate, but never lose where you came from,” he said.
After all, the Mayor’s Irish roots were passed on to him.
“Never lose the traditions, the language and the history, and pass it on to their kids, and their kids, and their kids,” Kenney added.
Mayor Kenney says the city “welcomes and stands with refugees.”