Coloradans from across the globe gathered on the steps of the State Capitol in downtown Denver yesterday to celebrate World Refugee Day, a time to honor the millions of refugees and displaced people around the world.
Participants danced to the beat of Montbello High School’s drum line and held signs welcoming refugees. They prayed together for peace. A flashmob performed a Bollywood-style dance.
Throughout the event, a variety of speakers took to the podium to address the crowd. Travis Weiner, an Iraq veteran, gave a powerful argument for the admittance of refugees into the United States.
“I participated in the Iraq War for two years, and that war, more than anything else, is responsible for the massive humanitarian crisis we see in that country today,” he explained. “Iraqi and Middle Eastern refugees are fleeing governmental collapse and humanitarian catastrophe capitalized on by ISIS that would not have occurred if we had not intervened in the first place.”
Weiner added, “As a nation, we can never replay them and those like them for what we have done to their homeland, but the least we can do is allow them to start over in this country.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper also spoke, reading a proclamation in which he noted the resiliency of the refugee community. Since 1980, he said, Colorado has welcomed more than 57,000 refugees from dozens of countries.
This article originally published as a staff report by the Colorado Independent here.