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Celebrating World Refugee Day in Boise with a cultural block party

Posted at 3:50 PM, Jun 26, 2021

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho has welcomed more than 13,000 refugees since 1975, these refugees represent nearly 50 different countries bringing diversity and culture to our state.

Saturday marked World Refugee Day and the Idaho Office for Refugees organized a block party to help the refugees in Boise celebrate the day.

"It means a lot for advocacy and reconnecting with the community and celebrating what new community members that we have," said Halima Hamud who came from Somalia.

The block party started at Civic Park Plaza near downtown then moved to Sunset Park, Northwest Point and finished up at the Idaho Capital Asian Market Plaza.

We went to Sunset Park and that's where we caught up with the Makatas who performed a Congolese dance called Wah and it was one of the first live performances they have been able to do since the start of the pandemic.

"It is a lot more fun if we are seeing the crowd's reaction and we can feel their energy," said the team's coach. "It is a little more fun when you are in person so this is great, this is fantastic."

The City of Boise played a big role in World Refugee Day as a police officer gave children a tour of the squad car, the Boise Parks and Recreation Department and the Boise City Department of Arts & History also helped out.

Some of the sponsors of the event included the College of Southern Idaho Refugee Programs, Agency for New Americans, International Rescue Committee, Bosnian-Herzegovinian Cultural Center of Idaho, and the Liberian United Association of Idaho.

The block party also included a mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the first stop.

But more than anything this event gave the refugee community a chance to come together for a fun summer day.

"It is amazing seeing the different foods, seeing the different cultures and the dancers," said Fowzia. "It is just amazing for this day.”