International Communities of Kentucky Reception was held in Frankfort, Kentucky on February 23rd. From the bluff on which the Berry Hill Mansion sits you can look down on Frankfort’s Capitol Rotunda. This was the venue The American Turkish Friendship Association, Peace Catalyst International and Pakistani American Alliance for Compassion and Education chose to highlight a hidden treasure.State legislators and representatives gathered in the mansion above the capitol to meet some of the internationals that live in Kentucky.
As the representatives arrived they were treated to warm smiles from around the globe. A buffet of homemade international foods was served as guests mingled and shared stories. Educators, doctors, business owners, farmers, insurance salesmen, lawyers and engineers took a few steps toward friendship and greater understanding. An Afghani man attended who had worked for the US military and now lives in Louisville. A Bosnian friend shared that there are 5000 Bosnians in Kentucky and recounted the many businesses they have opened. Tragically, he had lost both of his legs in the war in Bosnia. He came here on a stretcher, but now helps Kentucky Refugee Ministry resettle other refugees.
The stories and journeys represented in the room were inspiring. Person after person stepped to the microphone and told how happy they were to live in Kentucky and how their community had contributed to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Some had arrived as refugees. It took some time to learn the language, get through school, and settle in, but now they are grateful to be in Kentucky and are giving back. People from Bosnia, Syria, India, Pakistan, Somalia, Burundi, Congo, Afghanistan, Turkey, China, and Iran were all there. It was a wonderful opportunity for our state representatives to see the diversity within our borders and to consider the possibilities represented.