Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20 - World Refugee Day

Often classified unfairly with economic migrants, refugees flee their countries not for economic gain, but to escape persecution, the threat of imprisonment, or death. They seek a safe haven where they may recover from the mental and physical traumas they have suffered, and rebuild their hopes for a better future.

Sadly, they are often treated with intolerance and resentment. Instead of finding empathy and understanding, they are often met with mistrust or scorn.

World Refugee Day serves to remind us that some day in the future, any one of us could be knocking at a stranger's door, hoping to find not only a safe haven, but kindness and compassion. World Refugee Day implores us to extend refugees the same kind of welcome we would like to receive if we were in their position.

On World Refugee Day, honour these men, women, and children for their courage and determination demonstrated through their darkest hours, and recognize the richness and diversity they can bring to our societies, and to each of our own lives.

Today is also American Eagle Day, Dump the Pump Day, and Recess at Work Day!

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- The University of Oxford received its charter in 1214.
- An expedition of about 100, commanded by Pierre de Troyes and Iberville, reached James Bay in 1686, seizing Moose Fort, Rupert House (3 July) and Albany (26 July).

- The Law Society of Upper Canada was incorporated in 1822.
- Physician William Canniff, who produced the first Canadian textbook in pathology and founded the Canadian Medical Association and the Ontario Medical Association, was born in Thurlow, Upper Canada in 1830.
- On the death of William IV, Queen Victoria succeeded to the British throne in 1837. That same year, England issued its 1st stamp, 1P Queen Victoria.

- Samuel Morse patented his telegraph in 1840.

- President Andrew Johnson announced the purchase of Alaska in 1867.
- Fire destroyed a large area of Saint John, New Brunswick in 1877. It destroyed most of the wharf-side structures, the schooners docked in the slip and much of the city core. Eleven lives were lost.

- Caroline Willard Baldwin became the first female to earn a PhD (science) in 1895.
- Mordecai W. Johnson became the 1st black president of Howard University in 1926.
- A Japanese submarine fired a few shells at Estevan Point on Vancouver Island in 1942, with no damage.
- The National Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) organized in 1943.
- Nazis began mass extermination of Jews at Auschwitz in 1944.
- Anne Murray, whose renditions of songs such as "Snowbird" made her one of the first Canadian popular musicians to enjoy international fame, was born in Springhill, Nova Scotia in 1945.

- PM Pearson opened the National Library and Archives Building in Ottawa in 1967. Also in 1967, Muhammad Ali was convicted of refusing induction into the armed services.
- Jim Hines became the 1st person to run 100 meters in under 10 seconds in 1968.
- Pilots and air-traffic controllers went on strike over bilingualism at Québec airports in 1976. The strike lasted until June 29th.
- The National Order of Québec was created in 1984.
- Price is Right model Janice Pennington was knocked out by a TV camera in 1988.
- In 1995, the House of Commons approved a bill to prevent suspects accused of assault from using drunkenness as a defence.
- Djanet Sears' Harlem Duet debuted at the Stratford Festival in 2006. It was the first play produced by an African-Canadian and performed by an all-Black cast in the festival's history.

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

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