Day 9:

“Refugees didn’t just escape a place. They had to escape a thousand memories until they’d put enough time and distance between them and their misery to wake to a better day.”

Nadia Hashimi

Imagine: What would it take for you to grab your family and run from your home? Imagine leaving behind everything for which you have worked so hard, fleeing to a place you have never been, where you don’t know a soul. Can you imagine having one hour to pack, choosing items from your home to embark on what may become a long, arduous journey? What would you leave behind? Envision how terrible a situation would be for you to leave everything behind, putting yourself and your family at the mercy of strangers. Before they reached Louisiana, many of our refugee and immigrant neighbors have overcome these formidable challenges and other trauma.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Do one or more of the following…


Listen to Daniel Ukpabi’s story of his journey to America, courtesy of All Y’all, a podcast and live storytelling series in Shreveport.


View the videos on Oxfam to learn more about the experiences of refugees and asylees throughout the world (each average 5 min).


Read this report by the American Immigration Council about Immigrants in Louisiana


Visit the RACI website to learn more about direct service providers in our area that are offering critical support services to New Iowans and follow their links to see how you can help, find local events to learn more about and support our communities, or connect in other ways. Many agencies have need for not just financial donations, but volunteers and in-kind donations for new families arriving in central Iowa as well.


Capture what you learned by journaling your thoughts and feelings about today’s content. Click below to download a free journal page for today.


CONVERSATION PIECE: Art Addressing Equity

Designer: John Holiday, countertenor
Title: “The Refugee’s Aria” from Jonathan Dove/April de Angelis’ Flight
Date of piece: Performed at Des Moines Metro Opera on July 14, 2018
LinkYouTube Video

“[This piece] was inspired by an artist that takes graffiti and uses it as her background for black outlines of people in that community. The flashes of color that make up Cailen’s background represent the artistic work of people who get silenced or whose creativity is covered up.”

Michael Egel
Des Moines Metro Opera


Thank you to the members of BRAVO Greater Des Moines for curating the Equity Challenge Gallery, a collection of art in various media that speaks to the issues of equity in our society.