In celebration of World Refugee Day on Wednesday, Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services and award-winning Nashville photographer Jeremy Cowart have launched the “Be Unafraid” campaign, a traveling photo exhibit that attempts to address the fear surrounding immigration and refugees through interviews and imagery.
The exhibit, which launched in Fells Point Wednesday morning, features the portraits and stories of 10 refugees plastered to a box truck for viewing through 3 p.m. The photo display is especially timely, as public outcry erupts over a Trump administration policy that has separated children from their families after they’re detained for crossing the border illegally.
Cowart, who will be present at Wednesday’s event, said he began planning the exhibit a few months ago and shot portraits around a month ago. The project has also become a part of Pope Francis’ “Share the Journey” program, which encourages people to stand with migrants and refugees in support and solidarity and share their stories along the way.
“We’re encouraging people to have a face-to-face conversation with people they disagree with. I think we’re far more kind when we’re sitting across the table from each other,” Cowart said.
Already, Cowart said he has heard of some enlightening dialogue resulting from his photos. One of the refugees featured in the portraits displayed on the truck had coffee with a woman who was against refugees entering the U.S. Cowart was told that the woman broke down crying and changed her view.
“It’s been so powerful to see literal healing and reconciliation take place,” he said. “It’s just amazing when we overcome our fears and talk to those we’re afraid of.”
To see the stories and portraits of the refugees online, visit sharejourney.org.
If you go
The free exhibit “Be Unafraid” will run through 3 p.m. Wednesday in Fells Point at Broadway Square, South Broadway and Thames streets. It will stop at the Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., noon to 3 p.m. Saturday during the celebration of World Refugee Day. Free. sharejourney.org.