Refugee705, a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to building cross-cultural relationships in order to support refugees, hosted a high-energy, packed brunch event at the Grand Gardens Downtown yesterday.
The event consisted of a buffet, words spoken by David Pepper, co-founder of the Ottawa-based inspiration for Refugee705, Refugee613, and Syrian musical performances by George Al Khoury, a talented Syrian refugee.
This event, explained Jairus Patterson, Board Member of Refugee705, was meant to “celebrate how diverse the community has become.”
The event saw a turnout of over 125 people from a range of different cultural backgrounds. I spoke with people from Syria, Senegal, Sudan, and Canada, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.
The music and dancing brought people together, a true testament to Refugee705’s goal as organization; mobilizing community support with open hearts and arms.
David Pepper, of Refugee613, told SaultOnline, “I was in the Sault in 2011 to do workshops on sponsoring refugees, and there was only about 8 or 9 people, so to come here today and see how Sault Ste. Marie has changed, has welcomed, has broadened its vision is inspiring.”
Pepper continued, “the progress forward, the energy, and the love, its truly mind-boggling.”
Refugee705 hosts 3 to 4 events per year to celebrate and recognize diversity within our community. To learn more, or to find out how you can get involved, check them out on their website.