GRAND RAPIDS – State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) has introduced House Resolution 189 marking July 11 as Srebrenica Remembrance Day and the week of July 11 as Bosnia and Herzegovina Tribute Week in Michigan. The resolution honors thousands of refugees from the region of the former Yugoslavia who found refuge in Michigan following the war that lasted from 1992 to 1995, and raises awareness of the tragedy of the Srebrenica massacre, in which more than 8,300 Bosniaks — many of them civilians — were slaughtered.
“What happened 20 years ago in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the breakup of Yugoslavia remains a chilling reminder of the horror of war,” Brinks said. “But at the same time, it is important to honor the resilient spirit of thousands of Bosniaks who found refuge in Michigan and have gone on to become vital members of our community. No one should ever have to endure the sorrow they faced, but their strength is an inspiration to us all.”
Bosnia and Herzegovina achieved independence in 1992, and became embroiled in a war with neighboring Serbia soon after. The conflict displaced more than 2.2 million people from their homes, according to the United Nations. Thousands of them came to Michigan as refugees, settling in greater Grand Rapids, Holland, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Muskegon, Detroit, Flint, Hamtramck, Battle Creek, Big Rapids and Traverse City.
“We can’t allow this dark chapter of history to be forgotten,” Brinks said. “We owe it to the survivors to remember, and they deserve to be honored for what they’ve endured and overcome.”