This past winter I was asked to do some portrait work for Catholic Charities, an organization that is doing amazing work with refugees here in the Chicago area. The project aimed to tell the stories of six refugees and their families, celebrating their amazing journeys of resettlement. And what an incredible honor it was to take part; this kind of work speaks directly to my heart and soul.
These families, and their stories, are incredible. Words cannot begin to describe the strength and courage I saw demonstrated each and every time. They came from different countries - Iraq, Nepal, Burma, the Ivory Coast - but their stories were connected by their incredible (and often traumatic) journey of resettlement. It is unfathomable, really, to begin to imagine each refugee goes through: not just the turmoil in their home country that caused them to resettle, but also the tremendous work it take to adjust to a brand new culture and home. I was humbled by their tenacity, encouraged by their hope, and inspired by their bravery. There is much to learn from the refugees in our midst and I hope we are able to honor every amazing story. Listening and celebrating is a great place to start, I think.