New Jacksonville mayor-elect Lenny Curry won’t be sworn into office until July 1, but some of his very newest constituents enjoyed a swearing-in ceremony of their own on a sweltering June morning at the city’s downtown main library.
Jacksonville’s World Refugee Day celebration began with a Naturalization Ceremony at the library, followed by a children’s parade in Hemming Park featuring performances from the city’s large and diverse refugee community.
“We receive refugees from all over the world. Iraq, Cuba are major populations. We also have Burmese, Sudanese, and Somali refugees. We have people from Russia and Afghanistan. The goal for us is for our clients to be economically self-sufficient, to get a job as soon as possible,” said Frances Luna, refugee resettlement job developer with Catholic Charities. Luna spoke during an appearance on WJCT’s First Coast Connect.
The refugee celebration is held annually, thanks to the combined efforts of Catholic Charities and other local resettlement agencies. Over the last five years, more than 5,000 individuals fleeing strife across the globe have sought asylum in Duval County.