Events Calendar

Sunday, June 25 2023

June 25, 2023 - 11:00am - 4:00pm


For further information on free transportation options to Lynden, please contact us at or call 414-446-8794.

The HOME Refugee Steering Committee at the Lynden Sculpture Garden invites you to observe World Refugee Day in a series of outdoor events and programs that celebrate Milwaukee’s refugee communities through art, food, fashion, and performance.

Bring a picnic and a blanket to enjoy the outdoors with friends, family, and community. Or bring along cash (ATMs are available at local gas stations) to “taste the world” by purchasing food and refreshments from community chefs who have participated in HOME programs and Tables Across Borders. You’ll be able to grab a snack, sample dishes, or purchase a full meal from the Afghan, Ethiopian, and Rohingya communities. A full menu will be published shortly!

World Refugee Day at Lynden, co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families – Bureau of Refugee Programs, is organized as both a resource fair and a celebration of many cultures. In addition to making art, tasting food, and listening to stories, poems, and music and dance, visitors will be able to gather information on local services for refugees. One of our major sponsors, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield will provide community resources, PHE unwinding materials, and health and wellness educational information.

Under the big tent, you’ll find vendors from the HOME community including Hmodern Made (Ashley Xiong) and Mchete's African Treasures (Monica Ashery), and two henna tables--Hayati's Henna (Nurhayati Ali) and Mh Trendz (Muneeba Irslan), and resource booths staffed by refugee-serving agencies and community-based organizations including Anthem Blue-Cross Blue-Shield; the Milwaukee Public Library; Hanan Refugees Relief Group; Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Worker Connection Program; Neighborhood House of Milwaukee – International Learning Program; Hmong American Friendship Association; Community Center for Immigrants; Hunger Task Force; Covering Wisconsin; United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee; Catholic Charities Milwaukee; Milwaukee Consortium of Hmong Health, Inc.; Amigo’s Rotary Club; Jewish Social Services Madison, Progressive Community Health Centers; SEAL, Inc.; Madison Refugee Union; Maximus, Inc.; International Institute of Wisconsin; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries & Institute of World Affairs; and more.


11-11:30 am: Interfaith prayers & buna ceremony
12 pm: Dance performances by Al-Ghurba Dabke Group and Dnipro Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and its Promin Youth Group
12-3 pm: Multilingual Story Time
12:45-1:30 pm: Music performance by Hamid Ullah
1:30 pm: Welcome from Bojana Zorić Martinez, Director, Bureau of Refugee Programs, and Wisconsin State Refugee Coordinator, Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
1:30 pm-3 pm: Multilingual Poetry Walk with Chuck Stebelton and friends
3 pm: Samba da Vida MKE music performance

The program will begin at 11 am with a land acknowledgement and a series of interfaith prayers organized by the Rev. J.C. Mitchell of Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee and the Rev. Gwendolyn F. Sutton of the HOME Refugee Steering Committee.

Frey Faris of the HOME Refugee Steering Committee and HOME vendor Rahel Kesis will conduct a traditional and aromatic Ethiopian buna ceremony, roasting raw coffee beans and spices. Hot tea and coffee will be provided after at the Ethiopian food tent.

Al-Ghurba Dabke Group, presented by Hanan Refugee Relief Group returns to perform their celebrated Palestinian folk dances –an expression of the spirit of Arab/Palestinian culture.

Bojana Zorić Martinez, Director of the Bureau of Refugee Programs, and Wisconsin State Refugee Coordinator, will lead the program with a welcome speech, followed by representatives from various agencies and organizations.

Multilingual Story Time will move off your screens and outdoors, where Lynden’s art educator and naturalist Claudia Orjuela will lead a program in Spanish and English. She will be joined by musician Julio Pabon, educator and artist Ceci Tejeda, and librarians Tiffany Thornton of UWM Libraries, and Eric Johnson and Erin Sloan of Milwaukee Public Libraries. Expect singing, hands-on activities, and an exploration of Story Time’s theme of migration in the context of Lynden’s gardens.

We are honored to present Rohingya musician Hamid Ullah in his first live concert in the Milwaukee area. Hamid Ullah, who joined us via livestream for our virtual World Refugee Day celebration in 2021, is able to join us in person this year. A refugee from Buthidaung, Myanmar, Hamid Ullah is known for his mastery of the mandolin and harmonium, and his narrations of hope and lamentation. His original songs and music, arranged in the traditional Rohingya oral poetic form, echo stories of freedom and loss. His music, which is of great cultural significance to Rohingya communities around the globe, conjures a time immemorial and a place of belonging that extends beyond memory, record, or tradition.

Chuck Stebelton assembles a group of poets, refugees, historically displaced people, and social justice advocates for a Poetry Walk. The group will share poems together in an open, multilingual conversational setting as they travel around Lynden’s grounds. Invited readers include writers, translators, and artists with a practice of thinking and writing in poetic forms. Participants include: Mauricio Kilwein Guevara (English, Spanish); Ibrahima Fall (English, French, Wolof); Biluge Ntabala (English, Congolese); Khatera Nazari (English, Dari); Haji Mohammad Essa Durrani (English, Dari); Alex Niemi (Russian, French, Spanish)); Portia Cobb (English, Gullah); Antonio Vargas-Nieto (English, Spanish); and Milwaukee poet laureate (2010-2011) Brenda Cárdenas (English, Spanish), among others.

We finish the day with Milwaukee’s percussion ensemble, Samba da Vida MKE. Pull out your dancing shoes and join them as they perform.

About the Artists

About Al-Ghurba Dabke Group
Presented by Hanan Refugee Relief Group, Al-Ghurba Dabke Dance Group is a Palestinian folklore dance troupe established in Milwaukee in 2019 by a group of talented performers. The aim of the group is to express the spirit of Arab/Palestinian folklore and culture through a combination of traditional and modern dance. After their performance, Al-Ghurba Dabke Group will invite the audience to join in a hands-on session to learn a traditional form of line dance.

About Hamid Ullah
Hamid Ullah is a Rohingya musician and refugee from Buthidaung, Myanmar. In the 1990s, he fled to Bangladesh, and in 2008 he resettled to Ontario, Canada. Hamid began playing music at the age of nine, while living in Myanmar. He supported his family by performing with his band, managed by monks, at weddings, parties, and community gatherings. Since then, he continues to perform at various cultural and educational events. Today, he is known for his mastery of the mandolin and harmonium, and his narrations of hope and lamentation. His original songs and music, arranged in the traditional Rohingya oral poetic form, echo stories of freedom and loss. His music, which is of great cultural significance to Rohingya communities around the globe, conjures a time immemorial and a place of belonging that extends beyond memory, record, or tradition. He has been featured in various publications and projects including Music in Exile, the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre/Rohingya Kimoti Rosomor Ghor of International Organization for Migration-IOM/UN Migration, and at Lynden Sculpture Garden's virtual World Refugee Day 2021. He travels from Canada to Chicago and Milwaukee to perform for World Refugee Day 2023. In Milwaukee, he will perform at Lynden's HOME 2023: World Refugee Day on June 25.

About Samba da Vida MKE
Samba da Vida MKE, an Afro-Brazilian percussion ensemble, has been Milwaukee’s own Brazilian Samba school since 2010 and is part of the International Grooversity drumming network spearheaded by Marcus Santos ( Samba Da Vida MKE brings together people of all ages to celebrate the Afro-Brazilian and Carnaval traditions of Salvador da Bahia, Rio, and São Paulo. Directed by Julio Pabón and Bony Benavides, SDV MKE is featured in parades and performances throughout greater Milwaukee and focuses on maintaining and promoting the rich musical culture of Brazil.

About Brenda Cárdenas
Brenda Cárdenas’s books and chapbooks include Trace (Red Hen Press); Boomerang (Bilingual Press); Bread of the Earth/The Last Colors, with Roberto Harrison; Achiote Seeds/Semillas de achiote, with Cristina García, Emmy Pérez, and Gabriela Erandi Rico; and From the Tongues of Brick and Stone. She also co-edited Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance (Spuyten Duyvil Press) and Between the Heart and the Land: Latina Poets in the Midwest (MARCH/Abrazo Press). Cárdenas has served as Milwaukee’s poet laureate, taught for CantoMundo and Letras Latina’s Pintura : Palabra, A Project in Ekphrasis, and is Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. You can find her at

About HOME
HOME is the theme of our work with refugee community leaders, community members, Call & Response artists, and allies. The HOME Refugee Steering Committee is building a space of leading, coming together, and celebrating refugees.

World Refugee Day 2023 celebrations extend into three additional HOME “days” featuring music, dance, food, fashion (both ethnic and traditional), and two markets offering handicrafts and homemade goods. For all HOME 2023 programming, click here.

HOME 2023 is sponsored in part by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Refugee Programs; Anthem Blue-Cross Blue-Shield; and Hanan Refugee Relief Group.

Additional partners include Milwaukee Public Library, UWM Libraries, Tables Across Borders, Wisconsin for Ukraine, Community Center for Immigrants, and more.

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