As they laugh and dance the night away, party-goers on the Geronimo Plaza Friday night will be thinking about a lot more than having a good time.
On their minds; helping some of the most downtrodden members of society, both in Tucson and across the globe.
The third annual GiveBack KickBack -- “The street party with a purpose” -- will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Live music, entertainment and exhibits will be stationed up and down the plaza, which is on University Boulevard between Euclid and Park avenues. The event is being organized by the Arizona Resource Connection, a student-run group that aids political refugees.
Upwards of 10,000 refugees have been resettled in Tucson, giving the city one of the highest concentrations of resettled refugees in the nation, says ARC member Miles Black.
The ARC was formed in response to the growing needs of Tucson's refugees, according to the group's website. Since then, the ARC has helped refugees find jobs while also raising money to fund the building of a school in Sudan.
"Working with refugees is all about building relationships," says Nesima Aberra, an Arizona State University student who has worked with refugees from Burma, Somalia, Iraq and several other nations.
"Even though they come from different countries they all want the same thing," she says. "They all want to have a dignified life."
While dozens of groups assist refugees with a plethora of issues, Aberra says many service gaps linger. Her thesis is focused on the resettlement experiences of Eritrean refugee women, particularly how their gender impacts adjusting to life in the U.S.
"Often times there's just a cultural clash and a lot of things they have to get used to," she says. "I want to see what these women need, what they want and how we can better assist them."
The ARC hopes to use the KickBack to raise $3,500 and attract more than 300 attendants on Friday. Proceeds go to assisting refugees in Southern Arizona and completing the school in Sudan.
"Prior to any GiveBack KickBack events, there was no school (in the Sudanese village). They would do math in the dirt," Black says. "Now, this is the third event, it's almost done with and we would love to provide more for the children out in Sudan."