The One Journey family appreciates the heart-breaking affect of the COVID-19 outbreak on our lives. The impact of the virus has been particularly severe on refugees around the world, as well as the artists, organizations, and small businesses we spotlight and uplift through our annual festival and year-round programming. Our partners have strived to maintain their livelihoods, support their families and staff members, and provide, now in the digital realm, access to classes, programs, performances, food, and other resources for audiences of all ages.
Like many organizations, One Journey turned to virtual options to continue its programs and support our partners during the outbreak. These popular initiatives have established a roster of digital programming that we hope to continue.
Journeys Home Series
In May 2020, we introduced Journeys Home, our virtual series of performances featuring music, dance, storytelling, and discussions by refugee, immigrant and other displaced or allied performers. With so many in-person venues closed during the pandemic, this Facebook-based series offered a platform for our One Journey community to perform and fundraise as they navigated uncertain times.
Refugee Ally Collective
Visitors to previous One Journey Festivals met many of our nonprofit partners in the Take Action tent. We launched the Refugee Ally Collective to continue fostering these connections in a series of virtual events to showcase organizations offering support to refugees. Each one-hour event featured organizations around a common theme, such young adult mentorship and education, legal aid, and refugee entrepreneurs. Our goal is to provide a channel for partners to share information, recruit volunteers, fundraise, and make new connections.
One Journey Film Series
We recently began a virtual version of our ongoing One Journey Film Series. One March 25, 2021, we teamed with Virginia Tech for a virtual showing of the acclaimed 4.1 Miles and From Damascus to Chicago, followed by a panel discussion about the refugee experience. More virtual film events are being planned in tandem with a return to in-person screenings.
One Journey transformed what had been an in-person holiday marketplace into a year-round virtual channel for connecting customers to refugee artists and artisans, and vendors that support them. Visit the virtual Global Marketplace here.
Refugee Mask Maker Circle
Working with NOVA Friends of Refugees, we organized the Refugee Mask Maker Circle to help struggling refugees make extra money while helping fight the spread of COVID-19. Sixteen refugee mask makers sewed protective face masks which met guidelines for general use in public. Buyers purchased masks for their own use or donated to have masks made for distribution to elderly refugees, hospitals, and COVID testing sites. Some were sent to the Moria Refugee Camp in Greece. All funds received went to the mask makers.
15 Things and More
During the pandemic, One Journey shared ways for individuals to help. We compiled 15 Things You Can Do to Help Refugees During COVID-19, a list of immediate steps to assist refugees living in the DMV area, across the US, and internationally. We also shared COVID-19 response information and resources provided by health departments, refugee resettlement agencies, and nonprofit partners.
One Journey now looks forward to a safe and effective end to the pandemic and return to in-person activities and programming, including the return of the One Journey Festival on June 25, 2022. Our new virtual capacity will continue to be a resource for refugee communities and those who serve them. But most all, our hearts go out to all who have lost loved ones or had their lives disrupted during these sad times. And, we extend our grateful thanks to the health professionals and essential workers who have been there to serve day after day.