The fourth annual One Journey Festival will take place on June 24, celebrating refugees with a day of activities on the National Cathedral lawn. The free festival runs from 11 AM to 6 PM, featuring food trucks, live music, a marketplace with handmade goods, technology stations, and booths for nonprofits who work with refugees.
“[Refugees] really strengthen the fabric of our community. And we want to celebrate them. We want to welcome them,” says One Journey co-founder Wendy Chan.
Booths in the technology tent will focus on increasing awareness about refugee experiences. Lual Mayen, a video-game producer and former refugee from South Sudan, will have console stations set up for people to play a game he created called Salaam (“peace” in Arabic). In the soon-to-be-released game, players take on the role of a refugee fleeing war. There will also be VR headsets to show a film created by Doctors Without Borders about life in a refugee camp.
Radio, podcast, and TV personality Tommy McFly will emcee the event. There will be a main stage with performances from Kabul Dreams, a rock band from Afghanistan that fled to the United States in 2013, Jorge Glem, a Grammy-nominated Venezuelan cuatro player, and the Pihcintu Multinational Girl’s Choir. There will also be performances from Kurdish dancer Hussein Smko and Cambodian hip-hop dancer Sokeo Ros. Food trucks will be lined up at the entrance, including Halal Grill, Bun’d Up, Phowheels DC, Jaliyaa Coffee and more international cuisines.
“Just to meet new people and share your own art and your culture is just a great honor,” says musical performer Solomia Gorokhivska. “The more you recognize others, the more you also understand yourself.” Last year, Gorokhivska and husband Andrei Pidkivka were the first Ukrainian performers to take part in the festival. The duo created Gerdan, a world music ensemble orchestra, and taught classes on traditional Ukrainian dancing. The musicians will return again this year.
One Journey was founded in 2017 by Chan, who immigrated from China in 1989, and Vanda Beringer, who left Croatia in 1991 at the start of the Croatian War of Independence. The organization raises awareness about the contributions of refugees and builds connections to their communities.