CHARLOTTE - World Refugee Day is Monday, but some Charlotte-area non-profits have started celebrating a little early.

They gathered at Galilee Center in East Charlotte Saturday, to celebrate those who have made the trip and those who are still trying.

Organizers wanted to highlight the diverse refugee community in the Queen City. They say in the last 20 years, Charlotte has become home to more than 11,000 refugees.

A man who came to the U.S. about 20 years ago as a refugee says it's important to continue to welcome with open arms people who are trying to escape oppression and war.

“We are human beings. We have to live like human, you know. We should live like, honor and dignity. We should enjoy the human rights you know. The refugees, that means they need help,” said Manoj Rai.

World Refugee Day observance will continue on Monday with a film screening and discussion at the Levine Museum of the New South.