One Journey Festival 2019
In concert with World Refugee Day celebrations, a D.C.-based non-profit organization, One Journey Festival, whose mission is to amplify refugee voices and enhance public awareness of refugee talents and contributions, hosted its 2nd annual event at the National Cathedral at the end of June drawing more than 5,000 participants. The day-long festival featured music, dance, storytelling, soccer, a take action tent, virtual reality, speakers, refugee-owned food trucks, a robust marketplace, unity parade and more. Their Story is Our Story took part in the event alongside 200+ organizations, businesses, and NGOs. Since then, we have formed important partnerships with One Journey Festival, NOVA Friends of Refugees, ECDC, Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington, and have developed valuable friendships with individuals who want their story to be told.
Imagine being a skilled professional–a doctor even–respected in your field. And then war erupts, displacing you from your home, your family, your livelihood, your identity. When such a physician arrives in the United States, their credentials and expertise are erased and they must study for, and pass three United States Medical Licensure Exams (USMLEs), each of which involves fees and lengthy study programs. In addition, they must complete a residency program which are extremely competitive. Given the low-income, high-living expense lifestyles refugee doctors face upon arrival, these are steep barriers to overcome. TSOS is working to make these obstacles surmountable.
On June 24, 2023, TSOS had the opportunity to join with NoVA Friends of Refugees and other organizations at the One Journey Festival, a celebration of unity, diversity, and refugee contributions and talent. It was so fun.
When describing the work I do here at TSOS, I often say, we try to help people “step into each other’s stories.” Lately, I’ve been doing more of that myself.