Stapleton Project Update from Tracy Werick

Journey's End WNYRFF cover photo

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Logomark for Journey's End Refugee Services

This summer, through my internship at Journey’s End Refugee Services (JERS) in Buffalo, New York, I have had the opportunity to take on some interesting and meaningful projects.  One of the first projects I took on involved marketing for a fundraiser.  Starting this September, JERS will host the First Annual Western New York Refugee Film Festival.  From September to June, we will show eight films that focus on different facets of the refugee experience.  Leading up to the announcement of this festival, I researched places to market the film festival and wrote a press release about the event.  From this experience, I learned about event planning, marketing, and the behind-the-scenes work that ensures the success of an event.  In addition, the nature of this event has encouraged me to further reflect on the power of film and story-telling in helping us understand one another, which adds to knowledge I gained from my Visual Anthropology class at Georgetown.

            Another task I have had this summer is conducting research related to our advocacy efforts.  Over the course of several weeks, I researched local religious, nonprofit, and community organizations that may be interested in advocating for refugees, with the purpose of creating a listserv of advocacy resources and relevant news from JERS.  In addition to this advocacy effort, I have been researching resources about refugees that we could provide for churches and schools.  Currently, I am looking for books, movies, and websites appropriate for high schoolers that teach about the refugee experience and hopefully inspire students to take action.  Given our current political situation, it is more important than ever that we rally together as a community to support our refugee and immigrant neighbors.  Buffalo in particular has been deeply impacted by refugees, with their contributions fostering the revitalization of our city.  While times may be uncertain for refugee resettlement, I have learned that these challenges make our work all the more important.