Our Lexington office, in partnership with Lexington Community Radio, has started a radio program in the hopes of advocating for the resettlement of refugees and introducing the Lexington community to the unique and gifted individuals being resettled. Bluegrass Refugee Voices is a radio program that airs live on 93.9 WLXU every Tuesday from 2-3pm. The radio program is hosted by medical caseworker, Karissa Porter, who has been with the agency for over 12 years, and community engagement coordinator, Dana Lea. The two of them sit down with former and current clients weekly to discuss the individual’s plight as a refugee and journey to Lexington, as well as listen to music and chat about what is going on in their lives now.
For our inaugural show, we welcomed former client, Swahili interpreter, and musician Abraham Mwinda on the show. Abraham is an extremely talented young artist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We were so excited that he shared some of his music with us live on the show, along with friend DeMarko Murphy. You can check out Abraham’s music on his Sound Cloud!
For the next show we invited the smart and bright young Syrian man Mohamad Alshamdin to join us. Mohamad recounted his journey out of Syria in 2011, when family sought shelter in Jordan with other family members. Mohamad muses back to his desire for education and dreams of medical school as a boy. When his family fled to Jordan, he brought his school books with him in the hopes that he would return to school and be ready for assignments he had missed. Excitingly, Mohamad was invited to the White House’s Eid celebration in July where he got to meet President Obama – he tells us about this new ‘friendship.’
Another young advocate for refugee resettlement is Congolese man Jacob Wetchi. Jacob was resettled in Lexington in January 2016. On the show he spoke about his separation from his family for over 11 years. He was believed to be dead by his family members who were resettled in Lexington. Jacob fills us in on the emotional reunification and further discusses the importance of advocating for the resettlement of individuals fleeing persecution and war. You can further read about Jacob’s resettlement and opinions on peace in the Congo in a recent Rolling Stone article, ‘What can ease the conflict in the Congo.’
Bluegrass Refugee Voices has had the pleasure of additionally hosting the young Muta brothers from the DRC, model/actress Linda Kana, and Ana from India who read some poetry about her journey to a new country and the persistence in seeking a new home. We are so excited to have the opportunity to showcase the talent within our refugee community and to discuss the welcoming environment of Lexington. We are thankful to the neighbors and partners within the Lexington community who help us in our mission to ‘Keep Lexington Global’ and help refugees find a new home in Kentucky.
Bluegrass Refugee Voices airs every Tuesday 2-3pm on Lexington Community Radio 93.9 WLXU. If you are out of the range of the station, you can tune in live on the Lexington Community Radio website or catch our posts with the recordings on Facebook. You can tune in to any past recordings on SoundCloud. Big thanks to Lexington Community Radio for making this possible, and to you for listening!