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Bradford set to mark Refugee Week
7:00am Wednesday 6th June 2012 in Bradford
Bradford will be warming up for Refugee Week by putting on a day of dancing, music and performances at the city’s Mela on Saturday.
Helen Kemp, chairman of Bradford’s Refugee Week Planning Group, said activities in the Mela Sanctuary Tent would mark the start of a week-long programme of events.
Refugee Week starts for real at Kala Sangam’s venue in St Peter’s House, next to the Cathedral, on Monday, June 18, with the official opening of an exhibition of paintings by local refugees and asylum seekers exploring their lives and hopes. The public are invited to go along between 10am and 2pm.
The exhibition will be opened by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Dale Smith, and the main speaker will be Bradford Council’s chief executive Tony Reeves.
Miss Kemp said: “Bradford has welcomed refugees to its environs for many a long year. Indeed, different parts of the city such as Little Germany owe their existence to the flight of those fleeing persecution in their country of origin.
“Kassapians of Kassapians Mills, now no more than a historic memory, were of Armenian origin and many other nationalities have found sanctuary here and gone on to develop businesses and become vibrant partners in its community.
“There have been wars and pogroms and persecutions from the beginning of time, and Bradford owes its rich cultural diversity to the fact that it has always been a city of sanctuary. Refugees have always brought their skills and their talents here.”
Refugee Week is a national event being celebrated in cities all over the country where refugees are re-homed.
On Wednesday, June 20, people are being invited to join a 12-mile walk from Bradford to the Home Office’s Waterside Court In Leeds where asylum seekers have to go to – regardless of whether they have the bus fare or state of their health, said Miss Kemp. The walk starts from City Hall at 10am.
The Bradford Immigration and Asylum Support and Advice Network is hosting a party for asylum seekers and refugees at Bradford Resource Centre on Thursday, June 21, from 6pm to 8pm.
Then on Friday, June 22, Refugee Week organisers will be joining in the Positive Bradford Event in Centenary Square with performers on stage, manning stalls and putting on cookery demonstrations.
To find out more about what is on in Refugee Week, go to the website refugeeweekbradford.org.uk, or contact 07948 796248.