Latest posts by JoAnn Hallum (see all)
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The Central Valley is home to many refugees. They come from nations like Cambodia or Syria, and now make Fresno their home. It’s true that issues concerning refugees can be political. But here’s the thing: anyone who’s moved anywhere new knows how hard it is to plant new roots.
Change is hard. We all get used to our neighborhood and our grocery stores, and the hardest part is getting to know new neighbors. Try to imagine moving to a completely new country with a new culture and new language. That’s what refugees experience.
Here in Fresno, when a new neighbor moves in, we traditionally bring cookies or at least wave before we close the garage door. If you’re in the mood to be neighborly this Saturday, you don’t have to bake cookies; instead, there’s a great way to support our new Syrian neighbors at Collect Coffee Bar.
Syrian Families Settling in Fresno: Memories from Home is an event designed to help you get to know some people who are new in town. There will be Syrian finger foods for you to sample and stories about Syrian refugee life.
This event is also a fundraiser for a cookbook the refugees are working to publish, and to help with their transition into Fresno. If you’re interested in contributing to the Syrian families in Fresno, you can bring cash or a check, but anyone and everyone is welcome to come to this event to show support. It’s food, coffee, and neighborliness all combined, so you won’t want to miss it.
Additionally, there will be readings by Palestinian American novelist Randa Jarrar and Fresno Poet Laureate Emeritus Lee Herrick. Jarrar, the author of Him, Me, Muhammad Ali, is critically acclaimed and her novel A Map of Home won the Arab-American Book Award. Poet Lee Herrick is the founder of LitHop. He’s also the author of Gardening Secrets of the Dead and This Many Miles from Desire.
This event is part of the Tamejavi Culture & Art Series. Tamejavi is a word used to describe a space where different cultures share stories, music, and more. If you want to find out more about Tamejavi, you can check out their website here.
If you’re looking for other ways to support refugees, check out the American Friends Service Committee website here. Finally, if you want to take the next step and volunteer to help make the Valley a place that welcomes all cultures and people groups, you can sign up here.
Check out the Facebook event page here for more information on Saturday’s event.