Rally to welcome Syrian refugees in New Orleans is Saturday

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From a flier for a Dec. 19 march and rally to welcome Syrian refugees in Louisiana.
  • From a flier for a Dec. 19 march and rally to welcome Syrian refugees in Louisiana.
A rally and peaceful march to Jackson Square will welcome Syria's civil war refugees, an effort organizers say will urge city and state officials and members of the public to open their arms to refugees in Louisiana.

More than 500 people have clicked "attending" on the Facebook event for "A Winter Celebration: Welcoming Syrian Refugees to NOLA Rally" set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19. Organizers expect 1,000 people to attend the event, which also includes the city's faith leaders and other community organizations. The event, organized by Farah Alkhafaf and Lugine Gray, will also include speeches, singing, poetry readings, a brass band and hot chocolate. The rally begins at the city's Monument to the Immigrant in Woldenberg Park and continues with a march to Jackson Square.

A dozen refugees were resettled in Louisiana this year, according to the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. plans to resettle 10,000 refugees through 2016. Last month, Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of New Orleans announced they had recently assisted two families. The Syrian refugee crisis became a contentious talking point during the recent gubernatorial race, with U.S. Sen. David Vitter drumming up anti-refugee and anti-Muslim hysteria, and the Louisiana State Police confirming that support organizations had received threats. Gov. Bobby Jindal also issued an executive order in an attempt to block refugees, among millions of people fleeing a bloody civil war among Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, ISIS uprisings and rebel groups. More than half of refugees that entered the U.S. are children.


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