Buffalo, New York – Mayor Byron W. Brown joined Jennifer Rizzo-Choi, executive director of the International Institute of Buffalo, and representatives from the City of Buffalo Office of New Americans at a special flag-raising ceremony to commemorate World Refugee Day. The flag-raising occurred in Niagara Square on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, at 2:00 p.m.
“As we continue to build an inclusive and equitable city of economic opportunity for all, World Refugee Day gives us another opportunity to welcome Buffalo’s refugee community, show support and recognize their resilience in building their lives,” stated Mayor Brown, noting that since 2002, more than 16,000 refugees have settled in Buffalo. “In the City of Good Neighbors, we have a long history of welcoming refugees and immigrants and making resources available to newcomers and their families. I thank my Administration’s Office of New Americans, along with our partners, for uniting with us as neighbors and continuing to make sure all people can live, work, and prosper.”
According to the United Nations, World Refugee Day is an international day designated to honor refugees around the world and “celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution…” and is “…an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.”
“World Refugee Day is a solemn time to recognize the people who are running from something they cannot change about themselves,” says Jennifer Rizzo-Choi, executive director of the International Institute of Buffalo. “Today is an important day to remember that each refugee whose face we see on the news is a person who has endured suffering that many of us can’t imagine. It is also an appropriate day to rededicate ourselves to helping them.”
Additionally, Mayor Brown also directed that the top of Buffalo City Hall be lit “Orange” tonight in recognition of World Refugee Day, and asked members of the Buffalo Landmark Illumination Team to light their landmark buildings and structures in the same color. In addition to the City Hall Dome, landmarks, including the Peace Bridge, Electric Tower, and Botanical Gardens, will also be lit up in the refugee flag colors (orange and black) at dusk on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, to honor the sacrifice of refugees worldwide.