Alex Boyé becomes Utah’s new refugee ambassador; here’s how you can help

Alex Boyé sings and dances with a Dixie State University student while filming a scene for a music video at Sand Hollow State Park, Hurricane, Utah, March 1, 2018 | File photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The new ambassador representing refugees across Utah is a British-American musician who’s sang alongside the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, danced as a contestant on “America’s Got Talent” and performed a popular song in Southern Utah for a YouTube Video that’s amassed over 800,000 views.

Singer Alex Boyé talks about his music video at a press conference at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, April 5, 2018 | File photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

Alex Boyé was announced to be Utah’s refugee ambassador June 23 in Salt Lake City. An official event with Gov. Gary Herbert to recognize Boyé as refugee ambassador will take place later this month.

In a tweet, Boyé said “there is a lot of things I want to do to help raise awareness to our Utah refugees and highlight the amazing things they do.”

Read more: Alex Boyé engages students in Southern Utah for his ‘biggest’ YouTube video

It won’t be a full-time position, but as ambassador Boyé will speak at public events about refugees on Herbert’s behalf and engage with refugee communities, said Bethany Hyatt, public information officer for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, which helps refugees find jobs and integrate into society in Utah through the Utah Refugee Services Office.

“The role of the ambassador is to raise awareness among the mainstream community of the challenges faced by the refugees living in Utah now,” Hyatt said. “We are currently putting together a vision of what makes sense with his schedule and what his interests are to align those with the needs we have.”

Some of the biggest challenges refugees face when coming to America include understanding the language, finding employment to sustain their families and coordinating transportation. As refugee ambassador, Boyé will hopefully teach Utahns how to better help their refugee neighbors as they overcome these challenges, Hyatt said.

Boyé’s background, including being born to Nigerian parents in London and turning his heritage into a career with music, makes him the perfect person to represent refugees in Utah.

“Boyé has a lot of passion, and at the World Refugee Day (June 23), he was able to meet some refugees for the first time and hear their stories,” Hyatt said. “He’s excited to serve and we’re excited to have him as the ambassador.”

At the World Refugee Day, several immigrants, like Ubah Abdi, took the oath to become U.S. citizens. Abdi came to America more than six years ago as a refugee from Somalia.

It’s estimated there are about 65,000 refugees and children of refugees in Utah, Hyatt said. Before President Donald Trump last year lowered the cap on the number of refugees who could come to the U.S. to 45,000, DWS resettled nearly 1,200 refugees in Utah each year. That number has since gone down, but there continues to be refugees who come to the Beehive State, Hyatt said.

“Refugees didn’t choose to leave their homes; they were forced to leave. I think that’s one of the main misconceptions people have. … So refugees are just eager to work hard and raise their children in a safe environment.”

People interested in helping refugees can volunteer through programs like the Southern Utah Refugee ReliefKnow Your Neighbor program or the Utah Refugee Connection.

Those wanting to help refugees can also donate money to the Refugee Services Fund through DWS. They can also donate goods to organizations like Deseret Industries, Utah Refugee Connection and the Refugee and Immigrant Center-Asian Association of Utah.

“Utah is a welcoming place and we look forward to continuing to engage with Utahns in finding ways to help them connect with refugees and make that integration a successful, positive experience for everyone,” Hyatt said.

Email: sricks@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

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8 Comments

  • No Filter July 2, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Lets hope they are not Muslim or Hispanic refugees, everyone knows how the people of Utah feel about them, especially the comments section of STGNEWS. But on the brighter side, it’s more people to convert to the Mormon cult and pay tithing! Keep fighting the good fight Alex.

    • IPFreely July 2, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      Shut up!!! You have got to be the biggest blow hard bigot I have ever had the displeasure of knowing. But you are entitled to your opinion even though it is bigoted and no one cares

      • John July 2, 2018 at 7:51 pm

        Clogged filter makes it a point to prove he’s a PUTZ every time he comments.. Entertaining and always CLUELESS! hahahahaha!

      • No Filter July 2, 2018 at 9:51 pm

        If you don’t care then why do you constantly attack my comments?

        • John July 2, 2018 at 11:16 pm

          Because you are a PUTZ and clueless and it’s fun pointing it out….hahahahahahahaha!

        • IPFreely July 3, 2018 at 10:07 am

          Hahaha.. funny you use the word attack. Classic…

          • John July 3, 2018 at 10:50 am

            Clogged filter is the reason the left created “clueless” cry closets…hahahahahaha!

  • tazzman July 3, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Refugees fleeing for their lives should be able to come to the U.S. for shelter and protection. I applaud Utah for recognizing the humanitarian role we can play in giving these people refuge.

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