“Open Arms, Welcoming Hearts” event celebrates everyday Americans welcoming refugee newcomers into their local communities, will include interactive art installations and a special announcement
Washington, D.C.—On Sunday, Sept. 17, Welcome.US will host an official event on the “Amal Walks Across America” tour to help welcome Little Amal to the nation’s capital during her 6,000-mile journey across the United States this fall. Amal is spreading a message of hope, and during the Welcome.US event, she will help increase awareness of the thousands of everyday people who are sponsoring refugees seeking safety and stability in the United States.
Welcomers who are supporting refugee newcomers like Amal will greet her with joy, bring gifts of friendship, and help her feel at home during a family-friendly celebration at the Washington Monument. The event will feature an interactive art installation and remarks by Assistant Secretary of State Julieta Valls Noyes and Welcome.US Co-Chairs John Bridgeland and Cecilia Muñoz who will issue a nationwide call-to-action for Americans to get involved in welcoming refugee newcomers to their communities as private sponsors and make a special announcement about new support programs for sponsors. This event is possible thanks to the generous support of The Shapiro Foundation.
Little Amal, the internationally-celebrated 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, will travel to Washington, D.C., from Sept. 17–19 during her two-month trek, which spans more than 40 U.S. cities and towns for 100+ events. Some of the country’s most influential cultural institutions and artists will come together to greet Amal and add their unique color to the rich tapestry of America’s story.
Little Amal—whose name means “hope” in Arabic—has journeyed across 15 countries, meeting more than one million people and engaging tens of millions of followers online. In the process she has become a symbol of human rights, raising awareness about the global refugee crisis and the need for all of us to be part of the solution.
Amal Walks Across America is produced by The Walk Productions in association with Handspring Puppet Company and is one of the world’s largest free public art festivals. Along her epic cross-country journey, she will join more than 1,500 artists and participate in 100-plus local events in 40 towns and cities.
“Open Arms, Welcoming Hearts” event hosted by Welcome.US during “Amal Walks Across America” tour
- Little Amal
- The Honorable Julieta Valls Noyes, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State
- John Bridgeland, Welcome.US Co-Chair
- Cecilia Muñoz, Welcome.US Co-Chair
- Anya McMurray, Welcome.US President and COO
Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, at 5:30 pm
The Washington Monument, 2 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20024
The “Open Arms, Welcoming Hearts” event will celebrate the welcoming efforts of community-based partners as they present Little Amal with a special token of friendship. The event will include an interactive lightbox installation that spans 30 feet and spells “Be a Welcomer,” representing the welcoming light those seeking refuge feel as communities come together to help newcomers thrive. Attendees will have an opportunity to write a message of welcome for newcomers, which will be lit up in the evening. There will also be a “Stories of Welcome Neighborhood” to call attention to the scope and scale of the national effort to welcome newcomers and the local communities that make welcoming possible. These house-like structures will be populated with photos and portraits of Welcomers and newcomers, highlighting their journeys and special bonds.
Media interested in arranging prior or on-site interviews with officials in the speaking program, everyday Americans serving as sponsors, refugee newcomers, or any of our event partners should contact [email protected].
A full PRESS KIT for Little Amal and her walk across the United States—with images, videos, and a Q&A about the project—can be found HERE.
At Welcome.US, our mission is to unleash the desire and capacity of Americans to welcome newcomers and help them thrive. We operate on the evidence that direct participation with newcomers transforms both the welcomer and those being welcomed. We are not an advocacy organization or an operational agency providing direct services to newcomers. By making it easier for Americans from all walks of life to participate in the work of welcoming—and telling their stories—we are building a movement that celebrates America’s welcoming spirit by providing an opportunity to serve for all who seek to welcome. Our diverse community of Welcomers reaches across real and perceived divides to meet the needs of newcomers more effectively.
In partnership with local and national resettlement agencies, diaspora organizations and leaders, refugees, community sponsorship groups, nonprofits, businesses, faith-based institutions, veterans, universities, four former Presidents and four former First Ladies, Welcome.US is the single point of entry for Americans who want to get involved and support those who are starting new lives in the United States.
To learn more about Welcome.US, please visit welcome.us.