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Refugee advocate uses his poetry to raise awareness and build community

By Night Jean Muhingabo

Night Jean is a featured participant from USA for UNHCR’s Refugee Youth Storyteller’s Celebration, an opportunity to honor and recognize the creative voices of former refugees under the age of 30 who are now living in the United States.

Night Jean was born in a refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after his family fled Rwanda escaping the genocide. In 2015, Night Jean, his mother and his sister were resettled to Rhode Island. Since arriving to the U.S., Night Jean has dedicated himself to his education, his art and being an advocate for refugees.

Night Jean is the coordinator of a youth mentoring program at the Refugee Dream Center, a non-profit organization that provides resources and advocates for refugees in Rhode Island. He is actively involved in numerous youth and refugee programs in Providence. He is a poet, a writer and dedicated to sharing his voice to advocate for refugees.   

Night Jean Illustrated

Who can I blame ?

Tears, tears and tears. Not peace!

Mom, why are we alone?

Every time, I asked her! She shakes her head twice with sadness.

Yet, still not answering my question.

What happened to my uncles, brothers, sisters and grandfather? What happened to my dad?

Why do people keep calling us refugees?

When I grew up, I found out some of my family members were kidnapped, abused, and killed during war.

But, who can I blame?

My family story became like a burden. Neighbors would ask why don't you speak like us?

People were insulting how come you have no identity and no nationality?

But, who can I blame?

People kept their hatred towards us, because we kept seeking asylum, moving countries to countries, learning cultures to cultures, learning languages to languages.

But, who can I blame?

Even though we lived a difficult life my mother, my little sister were my only hope and consolation.

Night Jean's story is just one voice from the Refugee Youth Storyteller’s Celebration we are sharing in recognition of World Refugee Day on June 20.

How you can help…

Want to help more refugees like Night Jean find safety and a chance to rebuild? Add your name to the petition to support the Biden Administration renewing our commitment to refugees and robustly increasing annual U.S. refugee admissions.

Jun 11 2021
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