FARGO, N.D. — The Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota area is trying to show refugees and other newcomers that it’s a welcoming community.
The two cities along the Red River have organized 23 events for Welcome Week 2017, a 10-day event that features 23 educational and social events, KVRR-TV reported.
Some say 23 events can be too much, but organizer Peter Schott said it’s part of what makes Fargo’s welcome week unique.
“It gets to be overwhelming with all the different things going on but I think it’s exciting, you know, from art to news to food to whatever,” said Schott, who coordinates the international potluck that kicks off the event.
Said Schott, “Food is a really unique way to bring people together and celebrate our differences at the same time.”
The state’s resettlement program has relocated an average of 450 refugees a year in the past decade, most in the Fargo area.
Kevin Brooks, a native of Canada who works with the organization Welcoming F-M, became a U.S. citizen in 2011. He said the event can help people thrive in their new surroundings.
“It just started out as an idea to say, hey, we’ve got newcomers coming to communities, counties, states, all the time,” Brooks said. “It would make a lot of sense to welcome them and integrate them economically and socially.”
Scott said the stories are the most interesting part of the even because it helps show what people are about.
“You tend to not appreciate the depth that comes into who we are as a person,” Schott said. “When you learn why do they make this food or why do they do this dance or why did I write this story, you understand these layers of who people are.”
Information from: KVRR-TV, http://kftv.com