Coming to America as a refugee is about learning new things and starting a new life. It’s also about remembering the past. On Monday, there was a bit of both at a celebration of World Refugee Day.

Honoring their homeland, dancers in native dress performed in Monument Square as “passports” were given out to 15 local businesses owned and operated by refugees.

“We wanted to highlight the international businesses we have here,” said Chelsea Everest of Catholic Charities Refugee & Immigration Services, which helped organize the event along with other nonprofits and city officials. “We want to support these businesses and bring in new clientele. These are not just shops and stores; they are meeting places for the community, and we want to make them more visible.”

Rodents Biacho from Sudan said he hoped the day would promote understanding. “In our homelands, there are different systems with different laws,” he said. “People have to understand that refugees don’t know these things when they come to America. It is a journey.”

Nevertheless, he wants refugees to remember their roots. “Culture is valuable,” he said. “We can add to our communities.”