World Refugee Day Charlotte has partnered with the Levine Museum to screen “Salam Neighbor” and host a discussion afterward. The film is an award-winning report in which two American journalists capture 85,000 Syrians’ struggle to restart their lives inside a refugee camp.
The free event begins at 6:30 p.m. Following the screening, a panel of refugees will share about the lives they are rebuilding here in Charlotte.
World Refugee Day Charlotte is a coalition of nonprofits, faith-based organizations and two resettlement agencies. Some partners involved in the coalition are OurBRIDGE, Refugee Support Services and Galilee Ministries of East Charlotte.
These partners assist the 600 refugees Charlotte receives per year, which is the largest portion of the 2,700 total that come to North Carolina.
Oliver Merino, the Latino New South Project coordinator at the Levine Museum, said it is important for the community to get to know Charlotte’s refugees and their stories.
“A lot of times there is a misconception about who refugees are and why they are here,” he said. “Before they were refugees, they had lives, hopes and dreams in their countries.”
Charlotte’s refugees arrive from over 40 countries, with the most from Burma, Bhutan and Iraq.
“The film is very eye opening,” Sil Ganzo, executive director of OurBRIDGE, said. “A lot of people don’t know what’s going on, and I think this would be a great opportunity for people who don’t know a lot about refugees.”
Ganzo said this event will demonstrate how coming to the U.S. as a refugee is not easy.
“I think the country is divided by fear of the unknown,” she said. “The best way to understand is from the people who actually go through this process.”