NEW YORK, JUNE 20, 2018 — The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) marks World Refugee Day by announcing the 2018 tour of Forced From Home, a free, interactive exhibition about the global refugee crisis. The exhibition launches in Minneapolis in September and will then travel to Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, and San Antonio through November.
At a time of increasingly cruel migration policies that deny safety to people whose lives are at risk, the Forced From Home exhibition presents a startling new perspective on the human consequences. This immersive tour brings visitors closer to the real experiences of people displaced by violence and extreme hardship.
“As medical providers along migration routes around the world, we see this exhibition as a way to bear witness and share the stories we hear every day from people desperately fleeing war and violence,” said Jason Cone, MSF-USA executive director. “We are watching in horror as anti-immigration rhetoric turns into policy, and our patients are turned away from borders and ports of entry all over the world. Forced From Home is our attempt to explain why people are on the move, and why it’s unconscionable to block them from reaching safety.”
With an MSF aid worker as their guide, Forced From Home visitors navigate an immersive 10,000-square-foot outdoor space designed to simulate the journey of a person forced to flee. The exhibition features six virtual reality films, a 360-degree video dome, and interactive activities to transport visitors to refugee camps and communities where they will confront and consider the formidable decisions that those on the run face on a daily basis.
What would you take if you were forced from home? Where would you go to find safety? How should we treat people whose lives are at risk?
The US has adopted a zero-tolerance policy around border crossing, categorizing asylum seekers as criminals, subjecting them to prolonged detention, and denying them the right to apply for asylum. The cruelest policy is family separation, in which children are separated from their parents at the border and taken into custody by the US government.
The US Attorney General also recently announced that domestic abuse and gang violence will no longer be grounds for asylum in the US, a move that would effectively bar thousands of Central Americans from seeking safety here. Increasingly, there is no safe place for migrants and refugees to go.
“Seeking safety is not a crime,” said Cone. “The US and many European countries have abandoned their moral and humanitarian responsibilities and decided that it’s acceptable to send these people back to places where they will most likely die or face persecution.”
An unprecedented 68.5 million people are currently displaced worldwide marking the greatest migration of people since World War II. Among the displaced, 25.4 million are refugees, and more than half are children. Despite this growing need, the US is on track to accept a record low number of people for refugee resettlement, resettling only 20,000 refugees this year, compared to the 96,000 resettled in 2016.
“We invite you to attend the event to gain a deeper understanding of this crisis, and of the struggles of refugees close to home and far away,” said Cone. “We want US audiences to ask questions and get engaged on one of most important issues facing the world today.”
Upcoming tour dates and cities:
• September 9-16: The Commons – Minneapolis, MN
• September 23-30: Richard J. Daley Center – Chicago, IL
• October 7-14: NASCAR Hall of Fame – Charlotte, NC
• October 21-28: Venue To Be Announced – Atlanta, GA
• November 4-11: Venue To Be Announced – San Antonio, TX
Forced From Home has welcomed 50,000 attendees, including 10,000 students, since its inception in 2016. In 2017, the exhibition traveled to Boulder, Oakland, Portland, Salt Lake City, Santa Monica, and Seattle. In 2016, Forced From Home visited Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. Forced From Home’s mobile pop-up exhibit also traveled throughout the US in the Spring of 2017 and 2018, visiting select cities and campuses in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, and exclusion from health care. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender, or political affiliation.