Over 3,000 Race in IRIS ‘Run for Refugees and All Immigrants’

by Emily Khym, Yale Daily News, Feb. 13, 2024

In the annual Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services’ Run for Refugees on Sunday, Feb. 11, 3,152 people joined in the 5K race. Ahead of the race, pro-Palestine protesters calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza interrupted Rep. Rosa DeLauro, cutting her speech short.

IRIS, a non-profit organization based in New Haven, has hosted the event annually to raise funds for its mission of supporting refugee resettlement and to raise awareness around the issue of refugee resettlement. IRIS raised $168,547, nearly 130 percent more than their fundraising goal. Starting this year, IRIS changed the name of the event from the “Run for Refugees” to include “All Immigrants.” On average, IRIS serves around 1,200 refugees and immigrants in New Haven.

“It doesn’t matter what [government] papers you come with, we welcome you and we are going to try to help you as best as we can,” Executive Director of IRIS Maggie Salem said.

Khuan-Yu Hall photo

Before the race, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker spoke about the vital role immigrants and refugees play in building New Haven’s community. A speech from U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro followed Elicker’s speech.

At the start of DeLauro’s speech, she was interrupted by a group of pro-Palestine protesters standing alongside the finish line. Several of the protesters were holding Palestinian flags and calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, in which — as of Feb. 11 — Israel has killed over 28,100 Palestinians since Hamas’ surprise attack against Israel on Oct. 7, in which Hamas killed about 1,200 people in Israel.

“There was a group of people who pulled out loud speakerphones and started protesting about how DeLauro had not acted on the Israel-Hamas War,” Steven Zhang ’25, who was running in the race, told the News. “It lasted for around six to seven minutes … eventually DeLauro ended up not finishing the speech, and the race coordinator signaled the start of the race.”

(Read the article in full here: https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2024/02/13/over-3000-race-in-iris-run-for-refugees-and-all-immigrants)

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