Little Amal is journeying to Washington, DC, September 17-19, as part of her Walk Across America to share her message of hope for displaced people. Local organizations are preparing a warm welcome for her with three days of events, and One Journey is delighted to be assisting.
We are helping the Shakespeare Theater Company take part in a musical welcome on Sunday, September 17 at 3pm as she walks from Black Lives Matter Plaza to Franklin Park, swept along by sounds of hope from a go-go band, choirs, marching bands, and more.
On Tuesday at 4pm, Georgetown University’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics and Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues, have organized a procession from Freedom Plaza to the Capitol, where members of Congress will greet her. Amal will walk through a sea of emergency blankets and a river of shoes, evoking the stories of millions of children. One Journey is helping promote her walk and is collecting shoes for the installation.
Who is Little Amal?
Little Amal is the 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, who has traveled over 9,000 km through cities and towns in 15 countries across Europe with her message of hope and solidarity for displaced people everywhere. Most recently, in the fall of 2022, she journeyed through the five boroughs of New York City, where she participated in more than 50 events with artists and immigrant groups, as well as cultural, political, spiritual, and other leaders.
Half of all refugees are children. Half of all refugee children cannot go to school. They need the world’s help. Little Amal’s walk is a celebration of art, hope, and shared humanity that aims to unite communities and refocus attention on the urgent needs of refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers, and to highlight the rich cultures and contributions the newcomers bring with them.
In Arabic, Amal means “hope.” She walks for the hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people of all ages roaming the world in search of safety. When she walks, Amal brings people together. She gives voice to marginalized people (although she does not speak). She is welcomed by ordinary people and people of power.
Now Little Amal is Trekking Across America
Between September 7th and November 5th, Amal will journey 6,000 miles across the United States in one of the largest free public engagements ever created. More than 35 towns and cities from Boston to San Diego and 1,500+ artists and arts organizations have created 100+ events to welcome her.
Amal Walks Across America has been created from the perspective of a 10-year-old unaccompanied child in search of family and friends. As a child, she brings with her curiosity and warmth, caution and vulnerability, fear and joy.
An “international symbol of human rights” (The Guardian, 2022), Amal is walking across the United States to learn firsthand about a country that has long been a refuge for those seeking safety and opportunity—but is struggling with how to manage long-standing issues related to immigration. Amal’s engagement with hundreds of communities across the country will help spark important conversations to help us better understand who we are and where we come from.
Along her epic cross-country journey, she will meet with a wide swath of displaced and disenfranchised people, North American Indigenous people, recent migrants, and the ancestors of earlier immigrants, and learn more about the stories of the American people who established roots in these communities over the last hundred-plus years.
Amal’s trek will take her to the nation’s capital, the Midwest, the South, and along the Southwest border, before finishing in Los Angeles and San Diego. She will visit some of the country’s most iconic sites, such as the U.S. Capitol, Boston Common, Joshua Tree National Park, the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and natural landscapes that have become synonymous with the vast expanse of the United States.
Producers and Key Partners
Amal Walks Across America is produced by The Walk Productions. Amal is designed and built by the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa, creators of the award-winning puppets for the hit show War Horse. The U.S. Producing Partner for Amal Walks Across America is THE OFFICE performing arts+film, a global producing company that leverages art for social good. Amal’s impact and outreach are led by The Soze Agency, a social impact creative agency. Marketing and advertising for Amal’s journey is led by Cause Lab, a human-centered advertising agency.
Little Amal is based on a character in Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson’s play The Jungle, a co-production with London’s Good Chance, the National Theatre, and the Young Vic, which had its American premiere at St. Ann’s Warehouse in 2018 and DC premiere at Shakespeare Theater in 2023.
Little Amal is an emblem of all young refugees and represents the countless millions of children who are displaced in the U.S. and around the world. One Journey is honored to have a part in her visit to Washington, D.C.