Press Releases

Nonprofits Celebrate World Refugee Day

LAS VEGAS (June 13, 2017) –  Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada (CCSN), ECDC African Community Center and the American Red Cross of Southern Nevada are hosting a Cultural Resource Fair to commemorate World Refugee Day, Friday June 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Our Lady of Las Vegas’ Bevan Hall  (3050 Alta Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89107).

The Cultural Resource Fair will celebrate the more than 3,000 refugees from around the globe who resettle in Southern Nevada each year and feature cultural entertainment and art by Clark County School District students who were resettled by Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and the ECDC African Community Center. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the refugee experience and taste authentic cuisine from Cuba, Ethiopia, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations to honor those who were forced to leave their homes under threat of persecution, conflict or violence.

“The purpose of the Cultural Resource Fair is to emphasize why refugee resettlement is such a vital humanitarian effort,” said Deacon Tom Roberts, President and CEO of Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada. “We are looking forward to celebrating the many countries and cultures that comprise our community’s refugee population.”

Guinwa Zeineddine, president & CEO of the nonprofit Hawiyati, Inc and Gerard Ramalho, Emmy Award-winning anchor for KSNV News 3, will be the masters of ceremonies.

Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and the ECDC African Community Center help new arrivals assimilate to the Las Vegas community with cultural orientation, securing housing and other basic needs such as food, clothing, English classes and job placement. The ultimate goal is to help each refugee attain self-sufficiency as soon as possible.

“It is a celebration about the strength of refugees, said Redda G. Mehari, Managing Director of ECDC African Community Center.  “Thank God for giving us the opportunity to show the beauty of human kindness.” 

“The chaos and confusion of war, disaster and migration can separate families when they need each other most.  A simple message like ‘I am alive’ may be the best news a family member can receive,” said Caren Bedsworth, International Services Coordinator for the American Red Cross of Southern Nevada. “When humanitarian emergencies occur, the American Red Cross joins the search across international borders, in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations in nearly every country.”

The event is free and open to the public. Please visit for more information.

For 76 years, the mission of Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada has been to serve those in need – the most vulnerable, regardless of race, religion or creed. Today, through the support and generosity of foundations, grants, organizations and individual donors, Catholic Charities continues to operate programs, often with shoestring budgets, to meet the incredible needs of so many, in so many areas. These five categories – Family Services, Food Services, Senior Services, Immigration and Refugee Services, and Homeless and Housing Services – are providing a wide range of human services and support, from infants to seniors. Programs such as the Emergency Shelter, Meals on Wheels Senior Nutrition and Adoption Services are lifelines for those in need. A community resource that offers help and hope and restores a sense of dignity as it strives to meet the diverse needs of the more than 100,000 clients we serve every year.

About Ethiopian Community Development Council African Community Center
The Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc. (ECDC) with 17 resettlement sites across the US, is a National Voluntary Agency, authorized by the US Department of State, to resettle refugees. ECDC works locally, regionally, and nationally. ECDC’s program of public education seeks to increase awareness within the wider community and among mainstream organizations about issues of concern to the newcomer community in general and to African refugees and immigrants in particular. As a national voice, ECDC brings an African perspective to issues that affect African refugees here and in Africa.

The African Community Center (ACC), a branch office of ECDC was established in Las Vegas in 2003. Starting with a humble number of 97 refugees in 2003, it has grown its operation and is currently resettling over 400 refugees. In Federal Fiscal Year 2016, ACC resettled 516 refugees. Please visit or for more information.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.