Springfield refugees, community leaders come together to talk su - WNEM TV 5

Springfield refugees, community leaders come together to talk support

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The people who filled the gymnasium at the Holy Name Service Center in Springfield come from all corners of the world, different races and different religions.

But on Thursday night, they come together as one community representing one city, Springfield.

During this meeting the residents discussed societal issues that they all face in their own way, from violence, to education, to inadequate housing.

"These issues are too big for just one community they're too big for the city," said Rev. David Luis Sr. from the Mount Calvary Baptist Church.  

The group also came up with solutions to better their neighborhoods.

"This opportunity to come together tonight is not only a great opportunity to meet these issues of the day, but to do so from a place of positivity," said Jason Seymour of the Unitarian Universal Society of Greater Springfield.  

In the audience was also refugees who came to the city for a better life.

One of them being Adan Abdi who came to the United States from Somalia 10 years ago.

He knows all to well what it's like coming to an unknown city that is facing these issues.

"Coming to the United States was exciting, but the transition was difficult," said Abdi.  

But with the help from programs like the Pioneer Valley Project and its 19 various local organizations that make it up, Abdi was able to create a stabilizing life here in the city of homes for himself.

"Not only me, but also my community. It's really a good support," said Abdi.  

And it's those who supported him who said it is important to embrace each member of the city's community to overcome the problems that tend to plague their neighborhoods.

"That's where we generate the most power to be affective to make change. We represent each other's interests. We show we can be a community of love and support for one another," said Rocky Thompson of the Carpenters Local 108.

"Be it that you are Catholic, Christian, Muslim or Jewish. It doesn't matter what color you are or where you're from it's about coming together to make a difference," said Jeimy Pozo of the Blessed Sacrament of Springfield.

For more information about how you can get involved in PVP or support PVP's work, please contact Tara Parrish (413) 214-5100 or go to PVP's web site- www.pioneervalleyproject.org

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