Meet Journeybird: A Symbol of Unity
By Kenn Speicher
Three puppet-like figures: Journeybird, an adult, and a youth. Together, they represent the human flow of migrants fleeing the homes they knew, uprooted for so many heartbreaking reasons. War, persecution, poverty, violence, human trafficking, climate change, natural disaster, crime, and so much more. But while they come from many paths, these refugees are all on one journey. Like every human being, they seek lives of peace, security, and opportunity for themselves and their families.
Journeybird is from the One Journey logo, representing freedom, compassion, and the journey to a better future. The adult and youth reflect refugees and immigrants of all all ages, nationalities, and identities. Featuring basic, stick-figure designs, the three creations are decorated in streamers of many colors and patterns, representing peoples and cultures worldwide. The bright colors and spectacle of the figures reflect celebration of the talents and contributions of migrants and the hopes they share on their journeys even in the face of adversity.
The stunning puppets (10'-12’ feet high) are the design of San Francisco artist Wolfram Alderson. Wolfram designed the frames and basic streamer look in San Francisco, and the final creation and assembly took place at the One Journey Festival at the Washington National Cathedral on June 29, 2019 - an activity which turned into a fun team building workshop as volunteers joined hands and heads.
Led by Washington DC artist, Heather Cooper, children attending the Festival attached ribbons and streamers to finish this work of many hands from many lands. Heather also gave Journeybird her colorful head. The puppet figures made their first appearance in the festival’s Unity Parade and now they will join the IFCMW's (Interfaith Council of Washington DC) Unity Walk on September 8, 2019. The volunteer-driven One Journey Festival evolved from the efforts of NOVA Friends of Refugees and has become a celebratory movement of its own.