A Walk in Their Shoes
A Walk In Their Shoes is an exercise in building communal empathy. So often, we can use terms like "refugee" with little context to the lived experiences of real people. The term becomes unspecific, vague, and depersonalized. With this uncertainty comes opportunity for malicious actors to set the narrative to their own advantage — spreading misinformation and stereotypes. Education is the best remedy to such situations, and it has been the pleasure of our organization, for many years, to host advocacy events of these sorts to recalibrate the discussion and to put faces to these terms and concepts.
This year, our event followed two unique stories out of Burma (Myanmar). Both of these stories come from real events, based upon the timelines provided by the individuals who actually lived through them.
Our first story began in the late 1980s, during the pro-Democracy student movement in Rangoon. In this storyline, participants followed the path out of Rangoon, into the jungles of Burma on the border of Thailand. From here, the group survived in the jungle and sought help from the international community to no avail. After help eventually arrived, the group went through each of the steps to refugee resettlement that now exist to move people out of the danger you experienced.
Our second story began in the 2010s in the western Rakhine state of Burma, home to the Rohingya. After your home was attacked, you found your way to safety across the border into neighboring Bangladesh. Participants in this storyline learned about the history of the Rohingya people and went through the resettlement steps with their counterparts.
**These stories are traumatic, and the function of our event is to simulate these events as best we can. While no one participating will face physical danger of any kind, we do recommend that participants considering the event enter with a sober, contemplative mind to appreciate the gravity of the content we are recreating.
Centennial Village Museum
1475 A St, Greeley, CO 80631
Saturday, September 29th.
Food will be provided to all participants.
Please bring clothing and gear appropriate for changing weather.**
Download event PDF here.
Burma: at a glance
The diverse country is home to 134 recognized ethnic groups, a majority of whom speak their own dialect and maintain autonomous cultures. Struggles for power and influence between groups has led to massive displacement throughout history, pre- and post- British colonization.
(Click on the image to cycle through our slideshow)
Many thanks to the Life of Mind class, led by Professor Jolly, for being our event volunteers and actors!