Fargo Welcomes Refugees, Immigrants and New Americans

Twenty-three events feature everything from potlucks to happy hour

FARGO, ND — Fargo-Moorhead is the fifth most active welcoming community in America.

To keep that status, Welcoming F-M has organized 23 events for Welcome Week 2017.

Kevin Brooks made the decision to become a U.S. citizen in 2011.

He can still remember words spoken by a man at his naturalization ceremony.

“He acknowledged that what a sacrifice people are making by saying, ‘I’m going to be a U.S. citizen,’ that at some level they’re saying, ‘I’m not going to be a citizen’ of their home country anymore,” Brooks said.

Leaving his Canadian citizenship behind him, Brooks eventually decided to work with the organization Welcoming F-M.

“It just started out as an idea to say, ‘hey, we’ve got newcomers coming to communities, counties, states, all the time,” Brooks said. “It would make a lot of sense to welcome them and integrate them economically and socially.”

Welcoming F-M is doing just that through a special ten-day celebration.

Welcome Week 2017 features 23 educational and social events for refugees, immigrants and newcomers to the community.

It started off with an international potluck.

“Food is a really unique way to bring people together and celebrate our differences at the same time,” said Peter Schott, coordinator of the international potluck.

Some say 23 events can get overwhelming, but it’s part of what makes Fargo’s welcome week unique.

“It gets to be overwhelming with all the different things going on but I think it’s exciting, you know, from art to news to food to whatever,” Schott said.

According to Schott, the stories are the most interesting part of it all because they show people are much more than what’s on the surface level.

“You tend to not appreciate the depth that comes into who we are as a person,” Schott said. “When you learn why do they make this food or why do they do this dance or why did I write this story, you understand these layers of who people are.”

It’s the stories that let us understand the world and the people around us.

Welcoming Week will end on September 24 with an International Day of Peace Celebration.

For a full list of events, click here.

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