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The Twin Cities is celebrating World Refugee Day today – here is how you can join in

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The Twin Cities World Refugee Day celebration is going on this afternoon to honor the more than 100,000 refugees living in Minnesota 12-4 p.m. at the Arlington Hills Community Center in St. Paul, the Minnesota Department of Health Service announced.

MDH’s Resettlement Programs Office, resettlement agencies, community-based organizations, for-profit entities and citizens will come together this afternoon to recognize the refugees living in Minnesota communities with free live entertainment, food from around the world, activities for children, community resource booths and interactive educational displays to celebrate the diverse stories, arts and culture of Minnesota’s refugees.

The purpose of World Refugee Day, the event page said, is to tell refugee stories and show artistic practices to honor their lives and raise awareness of the millions of refugees in the world who have been forced to flee their homes.

In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly established June 20 as World Refugee Day, but after 2007, it grew to become a festival in the Twin Cities, City Pages said.

Additional information about the event, including transportation, is available on the Twin Cities World Refugee Day website.

Refugees in Minnesota

In 2015, nearly 4,000 refugees came to Minnesota from close to 30 countries. The majority of Minnesota’s recently arrived refugees arrived from Burma and Somalia.

Minnesota is expected to house even more refugees in 2016, possibly the most in almost a decade, after the federal government agreed to allow more into the country, the Star Tribune said.

Recently there has been a debate over allowing refugees, specifically from Syria, into the state.

Last winter, 25 Democratic state representatives and senators and other leaders lent their signatures to an open letter to Syrian refugee families, assuring them that “we are happy to have you" after Obama said he would let in 10,000 Syrian refugees, but many governors and legislators were against it.

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