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Groups gather downtown for pro-refugee rally

Sydnie Perkins/WBFO News

With the recent spotlight shifting to the debate over accepting refugees from places like Syria, some Western New Yorkers gathered Thursday to send a message of peace. The rally was held outside of Old County Hall in downtown Buffalo, sponsored by Western New York Peace Center and Western New York Muslims. Refugees and allies stood is solidarity against the recently introduced resolution proposed by Legislator Joseph Lorigo to create a more stringent asylum process.

Dior Lindsey an intern at Western New York Peace Center says it's matter of basic human rights.

“In terms of human rights, all of us are supposed to adhere to them, [human rights] that we came up with as a group and we are supposed to be standing with each other in solidarity. It hurts when you see that people aren’t, especially when you know what they have been through,” said Lindsey.

People of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds were in attendance. Patrick Ishimwe is a refugee and a refugee activist who said many foreign children see America as a place for a second chance.

“If we look at the history of our country, men and women came from so far away with nothing but big dreams. I am one of those people. I am here today because I dared to believe. I am here because my parents dared to believe and they said to themselves we may not be able to accomplish our goals in Africa but maybe in America our children will,” Ishimwe said.

Victoria Ross executive director or Western New York Peace Center, said the reason these organizations come together is because of love.

“We need to stand by what we believe in. So if that’s about caring, sharing, and all the things that we recommend to people, we need do those things as much as we can. With that we will solve a lot of our problems,” Ross said.