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Refugee Welcome Rally at ID Statehouse Saturday

More than 500 people have signed up for a group "selfie" with a "Refugees Welcome" banner on the Idaho Statehouse steps Saturday. Credit: Joshua Wiese.
More than 500 people have signed up for a group "selfie" with a "Refugees Welcome" banner on the Idaho Statehouse steps Saturday. Credit: Joshua Wiese.
September 11, 2015

BOISE, Idaho - Refugees are a top news headline around the world, as well as here at home, with debate over resettlement programs and the thought-to-be accidental fire that destroyed the Boise International Market.

Two Boiseans have organized a gathering on the Idaho Statehouse steps for Saturday, to take a group "selfie" to show support for refugees. Stacey Wiese and her husband, Joshua, said more than 500 people have signed up for the photo.

"We wanted to do something positive," she said, "something to show that not all Idahoans are against welcoming refugees to our community, that there's people here who want them here and that care about them."

The photo will be taken at 10 a.m. with a large banner that reads, "Refugees Welcome."

Joshua Wiese said getting to know refugees can change the minds of people with negative views. Each has a story, he said, and most arrive with families.

"People who come as refugees don't necessarily really even want to leave their homes," he said. "They're seeking safety. Definitely a wide cultural diversity that come to Boise."

Several refugees had shop spaces in the Boise International Market. The initial investigation showed that the fire was an accident, and several GoFundMe accounts have been set up to help with rebuilding.

Information on the event is online at facebook.com.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID