Ripon is going all-out to mark Refugee Week, with a whole series of events planned to celebrate the contribution of the city’s and the wider district’s refugees, and promote understanding of why people seek sanctuary.
Ripon City of Sanctuary has worked round-the-clock to make the commemorations happen between June 17-23.
On June 17, there will be a free film night at Allhallowgate Methodist Church, starting at 7.30pm, where The Merger, a thought-provoking comedy will be screened - a description of the film reads: “When a former Aussie-rules footballer takes over coaching the struggling local team, his idea to recruit refugees takes the community on a journey of change.”
And on the following day, June 18, from 7pm to 9.30pm, Ripon Cathedral will host a vigil in the Truth and Justice Chapel to remember those who have fled to seek sanctuary, and those who died trying.
Sara Trewhitt, who is a regional coordinator for City of Sanctuary, said: “Ripon has a long history of providing sanctuary to those fleeing persecution and violence. From the days of the Cathedral’s sanctuary to the First World War when Belgian refugees came to live in Ripon, and in 2016 when Syrians arrived as part of the national UK resettlement plan.
“Refugee Week provides a great opportunity for Ripon and the entire UK to celebrate the contribution that refugees have made to the development of this country.”
Throughout Refugee Week, there will be a display at Ripon library that will showcase all the great and important work that Ripon City of Sanctuary is doing around campaigning, public awareness and support for refugees and asylum-seekers.
There will also be a Refugee Week stall in Ripon Market Square on June 20, 10am to 3pm, which sets out to raise awareness and bust some myths.
Later on the same day, at 7.30pm, Dr Ahmed Khaleel will be reading his poems at Thorpe Prebend House.
Dr Khaleel arrived in York as a refugee in 2010 following threats to his life and beatings in Iraq. He now teaches at York University. He’ll read from his poems and talk about how Arab poets are responding to the ‘Arab Spring.”