December 10, 2015 - 11:30 AM
KAMLOOPS - Those who want to learn more about Syrian culture and the refugees about to arrive in the city are encouraged to come to the latest event hosted by Kamloops Immigrant Services.
Society director Paul Lagace says the event will be an occasion to welcome newcomers, but is also designed to give people facts on the country, its background and people.
“The event is to mark and introduce the community to the Syrian culture. It’s to share the facts with those who are interested,” he says.
Part of sharing those facts is to curb misconceptions and racism which has appeared online and in comments on news stories.
“The people that are criticizing right now are people who obviously have little else to do than vent their biases,” Lagace says. “Racism is still racism. These are people running for their lives.”
The event will include guest speakers from the Syrian Canadian Council and will also have a panel discussion with Lagace, a representative from the local sponsorship group Refugees and Friends Together and human rights lawyer Bill Sundhu. At the conclusion of the event, guests will record a welcoming message for the refugees set to arrive in Kamloops.
While MLA Terry Lake announced last week between 100 or 150 government-assisted refugees could come to the area within the next six months, Lagace says his society is still unclear on how many Syrians will settle in Kamloops. The only number confirmed so far are four privately-sponsored families which will settle in Kamloops and Clearwater.
“We anticipate there will be people coming to Kamloops, but we can’t define numbers until they’re actually on the ground,” he says.
Regardless of how many refugees arrive, Lagace says services at the non-profit will be available to everyone.
The event is open to the public and set to take place Dec. 18 at the Kamloops Immigrant Services building, 448 Tranquille Road, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests are encouraged to RSVP on Facebook so the society can determine food costs.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015