Refugee Week events start today on UI campus

Photo by Adam Burke
Photo by Adam Burke

Events to raise awareness about the ongoing international refugee crisis will be held on the University of Iowa campus this week, including a panel discussion Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Iowa Memorial Union about the challenges refugees face during resettlement and in addressing xenophobia in their new homes.

“Refugees aren’t just some external group, they are part of us,” said Hibbah Jarmakani, a University of Iowa student and intern with the Iowa United Nations Association who is helping to organize the events. “They go to our schools. They are part of our communities. We have differences, but those should strengthen, not divide us. So why not open up this discussion?”

News reports have shown an increase in reports of bias-based attacks following Tuesday’s election of Donald Trump and concerns among international students at Iowa’s public universities prompted campus programs to send out a joint email addressing questions, including questions about whether or not visas will still be valid under a Trump presidency.

Jarmakani said she hoped people would come away from the events and discussions with more information and hopefully reach out and call for more action and support for refugees from their governors and state and federal legislators. Individuals can also sign a petition calling on the University of Iowa to offer scholarships to Syrian students.

Although she is originally from Syria, Jarmakani has lived in the United States for most of her life. She used to travel back to visit family, but hasn’t been able to do so since war broke out in the region. She said it was heartbreaking to watch the country be destroyed and not be able to do anything about it.

“It definitely feels like being caught between two identities,” she said. “When I listen to the media and the way the situation in Syria is being portrayed, it feels like part of me is being attacked, like part of me will never be good enough.”

The groups involved with the events include the Human Rights Student Collective, UI Students for Human Rights, Iowa United Nations Association, UI Center for Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, MEDLIFE and the Women’s Resource and Action Center.


Hats that Help — Everyday this week from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the UI T. Anne Cleary Walkway, organizations will sell Carhartt hats for $15. The cost of each hat purchased will be donated to a refugee in need.

Sew-a-thon — On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the UI Women’s Resource and Action Center, help out by sewing recycled fabric into reusable feminine hygiene products that will be donated to women in Tanzania.


Panel Discussion — The Journey of a Refugee: Resettlement to Xenophobia — On Tuesday from 6:30 to 8 pm. in the Illinois Room of the University of Iowa Memorial Union, join a discussion about the integration of refugees into new communities. Panel includes two refugee students, a Muslim Imam and a human rights lawyer.


Lost at Sea Memorial — A display of Life jackets will be set up on the UI Pentacrest lawn representing the many refugees who have died at sea.

Film Screening & Discussion: Salam Neighbor — On Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Medical Education Research Facility Prem Sahai Auditorium, check out the documentary film by two American filmmakers who lived among 85,000 Syrian refugees in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan.


July 2020 marks Little Village’s 19th anniversary. With our community of readers alongside us, we’ll be ready for what the next 19 has in store.



Pancake-Palooza — From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, come out to the Old Brick Church for all-you-can-eat pancakes ($5 suggested donation). Proceeds from the event will go to the United Nations’ High Commission on Refugees.


Film Screening: The White Helmets — From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday in the Northwestern Room of the University of Iowa Memorial Union, watch the documentary about volunteer rescue workers in Syria and Turkey. The screening is part of the Human Rights Student Collective’s Friday Night Rights series.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!


July 2020 marks Little Village’s 19th anniversary. With our community of readers alongside us, we’ll be ready for what the next 19 have in store.



$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.