DALLAS — Curiosity drew hundreds of the city’s newest residents to Thanksgiving dinner at St. Matthews Cathedral near Lowest Greenville on Thursday.
"I came with my kids. I told them, 'You know, we're going to Thanksgiving.' They don't know what Thanksgiving is. That's why I came today and thank God I came,” said Dimakatso Elisah Ramzan, a refugee.
Too often, Americans take this holiday – even this country – for granted. Those in this hall do not.
"I am from South Africa and this is my first Thanksgiving ever," Ramzan, 35, added.
She and her family escaped increasing crime in Durban, South Africa.
Others here fled war and violence. But this afternoon, Ramzan and more than 400 other refugees from 10 countries shared a meal in peace, and were thankful for the opportunity to do so.
This is the ninth year for the so-called Refugee Thanksgiving. For the woman who organizes it every year, this event is personal.
"When my family and I came here we had nowhere to go. It was very hard. I was homesick. And there's no reason why any refugee should feel like that when we have abundance. So, we started doing that nine years ago at my house with six people and it grew from there,” said Samira Page, who emigrated from Iran and now runs Gateway of Grace, North Texas' largest refugee outreach program which is supported by more than 90 churches.
Page, 47, and her husband help refugees learn what it's like to live here and even gave away Target gift cards after dinner.
Not only did she establish the GOG non-profit, Page also earned her master's degree and doctorate from SMU. This month, she released her first book titled "Who is My Neighbor?" which is intended to rip the politics off the humanity of migrants.
That’s also kind of the purpose of this Thanksgiving Day dinner.
It is a new tradition for many of these families and Page makes sure, like all of us, that each one heads home with leftovers and love.