Welcoming Week begins in Charlottesville on September 14, runs through September 23 and includes activities for all ages. They include C’ville Sabroso, a Latino festival of culture, music, dance, art, and food on 9/15 at IX Park. “Know Your Neighbor” on 9/20 at The Haven, a film about Charlottesville/area immigrants and refugees who fled their home countries to seek a better life in the United States and settled here. “Dreaming America: Poems by Detained, Undocumented Latin American Teens” is a play directed and performed by Charlottesville High School theatre students.
Among the weeks of events, one of the most engaging activities is the refugee simulation on September 17 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at Carver Recreation Center. Sponsored by the Charlottesville Oﬀice of Human Rights, the simulation gives participants a feeling for the experiences that so many refugees have when they come to our country.
Jim Hart, a participant of last year’s Refugee Simulations says about the event, “These were moving as well as enlightening experiences. I serve as a volunteer on the International Rescue Committee’s subcommittee on community outreach. I can think of no better way to give community members a sense of the reality of the desperation endured by so many millions of our brothers and sisters around the world who are fleeing from violence and persecution than by oﬀering them a chance to participate in these very well-organized and expertly-conducted simulations.”
Welcoming Week events are sponsored by The Charlottesville Oﬀice of Human Rights, 7th Annual Cville Pride Festival, International Rescue Committee, Islamic Society of Central Virginia, Latino Health Initiative at UVA, Sin Barreras, Thomas Jeﬀerson Adult and Career Education at PVCC, International Neighbors, Welcoming Greater Charlottesville, TheatreCHS and the CHS Welcoming Team Task Force, and Legal Aid Justice Center. Welcoming Greater Charlottesville also includes representatives of local immigrant and refugee support groups. Russ Linden of Welcoming Greater Charlottesville remarks “our purpose is to make our community as open and inclusive as possible for all, especially immigrants, refugees, and others who sometimes feel marginalized.”