Mango House, at 1532 Galena Street in Aurora, is dedicated to providing services for refugees trying to make a new home in Colorado. The privately funded space includes a medical practice called Ardas Family Medicine, a dental office, a food share for refugees, the office of Project Worthmore, and several other small businesses. On the morning of January 26, an employee of Mango House found two anonymous notes threatening to "blow up all of you refugees."
P.J. Parmar, the doctor who runs Ardas Family Medicine and who owns Mango House, posted the note on his organization's Facebook page along with this message:
Parmar says that he doesn't think the people who left the notes pose an immediate threat, but are part of a larger movement of hatred and bigotry that has arisen since Donald Trump was elected. "If they have a leader who's saying these things, they feel like they can get away with it," Parmar explains.
The doctor adds that he's more worried about the overall impact of the new administration on refugees attempting to come to the U.S. than he is about one isolated incident. "We have to ask how much money is being spent on refugee resettlement," he notes, pointing out that official government organizations like the Division of Refugee Assistance offer help for the first eight months after refugees arrive in the country, but that private and nonprofit groups handle much of the ongoing assistance. That includes everything from dental and medical care to English-language classes to food and nutrition education.
On the Mango House Facebook page, Parmar dealt with the threatening notes with a touch of humor. Noticing a misspelling in the note that read "were" instead of "we're," Parmar started a fill-in-the-blank thread:
OK new meme game. We "Were going to blow up all of you refugees" but then we _________________________ (fill in the blank)
A second incident occurred later in the week, Parmar says, in which two men in masks or hoods drove by the Mango House, waving anti-immigrant signs in front of a group of young Somali women. He called it an act of terrorism on Facebook and also noted that it was captured by surveillance cameras; he is working with authorities to further investigate.
Businesses and organizations rent space at Mango House, and there are also community rooms that have been used to host gatherings, dinners and other events. Last summer, a food-based educational organization called Fooition hosted a Burmese Village dinner with chef and former Burmese refugee Zin Zin. The dinner was one of many ways that Mango House helps integrate refugees into the community while giving Aurora residents more exposure to immigrant cultures. Parmar's Boy Scout Troop, which has its headquarters at Mango House, was also recently photographed for an AP story.
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