Over the week of Saturday, March 19, to Saturday, March 26, Lee University will host “Refugee Week,” a series of events for the campus and community about current crises around the world.
“We would like to invite the Lee family and surrounding communities to these activities as we reflect and ponder on what is going on in the world today,” said Dr. Arlie Tagayuna, associate professor of sociology at Lee. “We believe as a community of faith we can come together and respond ethically and spiritually to the current world crisis.”
Beginning on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Lee amphitheater, there will be a “March for Peace” followed by a candlelight prayer vigil. The march will promote empathy and solidarity to those suffering including those currently displaced by war, natural calamity, or other uncontrollable reasons here and abroad. Refugees and migrants from the community will join for the march and prayer.
The next event is “Border Stories” on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the School of Nursing Lecture Hall. Reverend Maribel Velasquez will speak about her church experiences on hospitality and how God turned her congregation into a refuge for displaced people on the southern border in El Paso, Texas. Rev.Velasquez is a trained nurse practitioner and a licensed Church of God minister. In her community, she provides services such as clothing, food, and shelter for people coming from the detention centers until they are reunited with their families.
“Theology of the Border” will take place on Thursday, March 24, at 6:30 p.m., also in the School of Nursing Lecture Hall. Pastor Mark Adams of Frontero de Cristo, a Christian non-profit organization that addresses the root causes of mass migration and provides opportunities for development for migrants and community members on the America-Mexico border, will present a lecture. He will share how Christians can navigate their faith in understanding the issues of border politics and impacts to humanity and how Christians on both sides of the border affirm their commitment to missional community.
The next day, Friday, March 25, at 6:30 p.m., there will be a screening of “La Misma Luna” (“Under the Same Moon”) in the Communication Arts Building Screening Room. The movie tells the story of a mother and son separated at the border. It is a typical representation of the dangers and struggles of displaced people due to the changing political, economic, and social landscape.
“This screening intends to demonstrate that there is humanity, created in the image of God, that is often invisible from our conflicting ideologies about refugees and migrants,” said Dr. Tagayuna.
To conclude the week, the International Friends Network and the Refuge will host a party to welcome Lee students for intercultural engagement on Saturday, March 26, at 4 p.m. in Alumni Park. These local refugees and immigrants will serve food and demonstrate cultural artifacts from the country they come from.
Refugee Week is open to all, and all events are free.
For more information, contact Dr. Tagayuna at email@example.com.