Colorado Refugee Speakers Bureau announces showcase

DENVER (Oct. 2, 2019) — The Colorado Department of Human Services, with its partners African Community Center, International Rescue Committee, and Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains, will be hosting the Colorado Refugee Speakers Bureau 2019 Showcase on Oct. 9 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Posner Center for International Development, 1031 33rd Street, in Denver. The event will be hosted by Nermina Mujkanović, a former refugee from Bosnia and speaker at the 2018 showcase.

The Colorado Refugee Speakers Bureau was founded in 2017 as a way to highlight the voices of refugees in our community. The bureau uses the power of storytelling to create understanding and empathy while developing connections across diverse communities. 

Each year, the bureau welcomes a new group of speakers to its ranks and provides training on storytelling, creating narratives and public speaking. This event will showcase the nine newest members who are originally from countries including Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Syria and Iraq.

Dunia Jama grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya, and saw how education wasn’t considered as holding any value for the young women of her community. Originally from Somalia, Dunia saw more and more of her female friends forced to leave school to marry young, or to help raise their siblings while families chose to focus their limited resources on boys. Now in the U.S. and pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Metro State, Dunia is a vocal advocate for education and a living testament to the power of learning through her own life.

Mousa Al Khafaji had been serving as an interpreter for the U.S. Army as it worked to train and support the Iraqi Army, a role that he was proud of, but one that also put him in danger. When Mousa opened an envelope that had been delivered to his home in Iraq and found a single bullet enclosed inside, he knew it was time to leave.That single bullet convinced him his home was no longer safe for him, his wife and their two sons. Mousa applied for and received a Special Immigrant Visa, which is a protected humanitarian status extended to select Iraqis and Afghanis who supported the U.S. Military, and made his way to the United States in 2017. Mousa currently serves as the Financial Capabilities Coordinator at the International Rescue Committee in Denver and recently provided testimony before the House and Senate committees in favor of SB230.

Those are just two of the stories that will be shared during the evening’s festivities. Each path is different, but no less engrossing. The journey from the dangers presented in their homelands to the hope and promise provided by the United States is unique for each refugee, and never fails to inspire.

Admission to the event is free, although a $10 donation to support the work of the bureau is encouraged. Seats are limited. Visit the event page to add your name to the waitlist.

Media, please RSVP to John Rosa, CDHS marketing and communications specialist: john.rosa@state.co.us.