Fashion, Food, Dancing Mark World Refugee Day in Vickery Meadows

Categories: News

Photo by Drew Gaines
Somali women laugh as they leave the impromptu dance floor. Click here for more photos.
African men singing to the beat of a drum and about ten women dressed in long bold-colored dresses danced in an undulating circle in Fair Oaks Park on Saturday afternoon. With bright scarves wrapped around their heads, their bodies seemed to move like aquatic plants to the music and chants.

It was the World Refugee Day celebration, an afternoon filled with Bhutanese, Burmese, and Iraqi dance, music from different parts of Africa, and crafts and food from around the world. (See photo slideshow here.)

"An improvisational Somali performance," the emcee called the spontaneous dancing. It was just shy of 100 degrees, but that didn't stop the celebration organized by Catholic Charities.

An international fashion show blazed a runway through the grass near a shade tree. A woman sporting Egyptian fashion wore a long airy white dress with a gold sphynx at the chest and pyramids at the bottom. It was topped by a netted rhinestone headdress. Somali women wore bright head scarves and long dresses. Bhutanese girls wore bold silk ankle-length dresses; two teenage models had angled hair dyed amber.

Meanwhile, under the pavilion with crafts and food, an Iraqi woman sold beautiful jewelry, handmade pillows, and other gilded and carefully adorned crafts. Ban Salih, sells her wares from her Vickery Meadow apartment. She was a fashion designer in Iraq, continued her craft in Jordan when she fled her home country, and now creates her designs here in Dallas. Surrounding her were other clothing and jewelry makers from Africa, Burma, and Bhutan.

Some of the refugees had been in America for years, some for merely months. It was a nice afternoon to forget the hardships of leaving one's home for a new country and to celebrate Dallas' growing community of people from around the world.

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No-one from Detroit?

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

I first read that as world refugee -- someone who's said "stop the world, I wanna get off," and is now a refugee from the world.

David Resetar
David Resetar

The event was great! It was an inspiration to see people from so many religious and ethnic backgrounds willingly come together to participate in each others' traditions for the day. The fact that it was walking distance to The Shops at Park Lane and North Park Mall makes it that much more incredible. The unique thing about Vickery Meadow isn't so much how the various refugee groups have adapted to Dallas life (though many of them have done exceedingly well given minimal resources), but how those groups have affected each other by exchanging language and culture. Look for Sudanese greeting each other in Nepali, Somalis playing Iraqi boardgames, or Burmese giving Congolese rides to work. The product of these alliances and cross-assimilation has been slow to foment, but has so far strengthened the neighborhood and the surrounding area rather than make it more vulnerable. As I see it, Dallas invites and supports refugees and immigrants (whether consciously or not) for a reason. To give everyone a chance at survival in a way that makes us all a little better off in the long run.

Juan Valdez
Juan Valdez

Diversity is beautiful. Ultimately we all come from places (even the Native Americans). Such as Mexican Mitt Romney, Panamenian John McCain, Austrian Shwarzernegger, etc etc.


I wonder how long it will take before our usual untraveled, narrow-minded troll(s?) start to throw the words "divershitty," "libtard," and "illegal" around after reading this...

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