This year’s event was about celebrating diversity in the Sault. Activities included live music, face painting, ice cream, games and more.
“We’re a strong community, we want everybody to feel welcome and it’s just the spirit of being Canadian,” said Dania Kuzbari, a board member of Refugee 705. “It’s very important for refugees to feel part of our community, and it’s important also for the community to welcome the refugees so that we feel like we all live together peacefully and we all celebrate – music is a universal language, food is a universal language, so it gets us all together.”
Simone Mitchell, the program coordinator for Global Friends, shared the same sentiment.
“This is a great opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate our diversity, celebrate our newcomers, and just to really learn a little bit about each other. Sault Ste. Marie is a multi-cultural community and this is just a way to amp our music, to share and get to know each other.”
Kuzbari revealed a unique fact about the musicians playing together on the stage.
“(The band) is special because the musicians that are playing right now – they don’t know each other. And they’ve never practiced together. And yet, when you listen to them, you’d think that they’ve known each other for weeks and that they HAVE practiced,” Kuzbari said.
The band, made up of a mixture of locals and refugees, was led by George Al Khoury, a Syrian refugee, volunteer with the Global Friends program, and a member of Refugee 705.
“George had actually been using drumming and music as a way for uplifting refugee youth within all the refugee camps in Lebanon,” Mitchell explained, “so we’re really proud and honored to have him here today.”
“Music is a universal language, everybody is in sync, and it’s beautiful, said Kuzbari. “This is the spirit of our event.”