From May 12th to August 8th 2018, Alana Murphy biked 4,380 miles across the United States in order to meet with and interview people who came to the U.S. as refugees. Her project is called the Beautiful Crossing – a digital archive presenting participant stories and photos, as well as snapshots of Murphy’s cycling tour and additional resources for those seeking more information about the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
Although Murphy is only 26 years old, she has spent the past 8 years working with refugee and migrant populations in Jordan, Morocco, the Philippines, Ecuador, and the United States. She was particularly inspired by her experiences working as an employment counselor with World Relief Chicago, helping resettled refugees prepare for interviews and find their first jobs in her home city.
The Beautiful Crossing was born out of the realization that very few people have had the opportunity to actually meet individuals from a refugee background. This lack of personal connection enables us to often put refugees in two different categories – either villain or victim. The Beautiful Crossing seeks to humanize the issue and bring refugees’ stories and opinions to those who have not had the chance to hear them in person. Rather than focusing on why someone became a refugee, Murphy chose instead to open up the floor for participants to talk about starting life over in the United States as well as to express their opinions about U.S. culture and values. She hopes the project will present a more nuanced and personal perspective on the now politically divisive word “refugee.” ~ Justice for Immigrants