Student group traveling to capitol for Refugee, Immigration Day

Kacie Brockman

The fourth annual Refugee and Immigrant Day will be held at the state’s Capitol this afternoon.

The event is held to advocate on behalf of refugee and immigrant rights, sponsored by Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services, Americana World Community Center, International Center of Kentucky and Kentucky Refugee Ministries, according to the Kentucky Refugee Ministries website.

Refugee and Immigrant Day will commence in Frankfort  at 9 a.m. on Feb. 16, with legislator meetings,  which continues to the general gathering scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be a variety of speakers,  including refugees.

A WKU organization, No Lost Generation, is planning to attend the rally. According to the group’s official Facebook page, No Lost Generation is “a part of a national student initiative supported by the Department of State in order to raise awareness about the challenges faced by young refugees.”

No Lost Generation promotes refugee aid groups, raises awareness and supports Bowling Green refugees among the city. It is the first chapter to be established in Kentucky of the 48 established nationwide on college campuses.

Maggie Sullivan, executive director of No Lost Generation, said the group’s main focus is on advocacy efforts, fundraising attempts, and volunteering at the International Center. A tour is arranged for this spring semester for students from the University of Louisville to come visit WKU and learn about the organization.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the collaboration between refugees and community members and students, basically all of Kentucky coming together to pledge support for the refugees and immigrant population,” said Sullivan.

Membership can fluctuate with roughly 10 to 15 active members currently involved. On campus, the group can be found on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. at the Honors College and International Center in room 2010 for a weekly meeting.

A member of the WKU chapter of No Lost Generation, Rachel Blair, will attend the event for the first time this year.

“I think it’s especially pretty important to attend this year’s one, specifically due to all the things that are going around with our administration, I guess both at the state and national level,” Blair said.

A petition, Keep Kentucky Welcoming, is to be presented to state legislatures at the Capitol during the Refugee and Immigrant Day in hopes to #KeepKYGlobal. With a goal of 10,000 signatures, the impetus behind it is to “send a clear message to your elected officials that refugees and immigrants will always be welcome in our Old Kentucky Home,” according to the Facebook page for the event.

Despite the executive order being passed by President Donald Trump’s administration to ban entrance to the United Stated from seven Muslim-majority countries, Sullivan said there has been a beneficial outcome from it.

“One of the positive things, I think, about the recent executive order being signed is that there was a huge amount of support afterwards for the refugee and immigrant population,” said Sullivan.

No Lost Generation will visit the state’s Capitol for the first time this year after their founding last fall at WKU. Their goal is to prevent the 21.3 million young refugees, according to the United Nations, from getting “lost” from the displacement of today’s society. 

Reporter Kacie Brockman can be reached at (270)745-0655 and [email protected].