As Americans, our educational system did a very poor job of educating us on the true history of Black Americans and we have failed at listening to their stories. Our first duty is to educate ourselves. The work of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Nikole Hannah-Jones put a mirror in front of us and reflected our world and history back to us, but we must go further and do more. We need to listen to the stories, read the books, and watch the documentaries.
As a Syrian-American myself, I have watched as the term "Syrian" came to be defined purely in terms of war and destruction. I've felt the frustration of our rich culture and history reduced to images of rubble, bombs, and tragedy, and how that will inevitably shape the next generation of Syrians' self-image. That's why I wrote Displaced: Stories from the Syrian Diaspora, to tell the story of Syrian refugees from our own perspective.
Whether disenfranchised as refugees or as minorities, we have a shared duty to listen, learn, and act. To start, we will donate 100% of the sales of my book to the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization working since 1989 to reform incarceration and policing in America. This will help us raise up to $22,000.
Order your copy of Displaced here, and 100% of your money will go towards ending police violence in America.
“Greece currently hosts approximately 50,000 refugees, most of whom will remain in the country. The International Rescue Committee ensures these refugees understand their rights and provides them with job training, and psychosocial support so that they can rebuild their lives.”
A ten-week journey through the Syrian Refugee Crisis at its peak. Learn about the diaspora from a first-hand, eye-level Syrian perspective.
Writer & Producer, Los Angeles
Majd Taby is a writer and software developer who studied computer science at the University of Michigan, where he first immigrated from Syria in 2003. After moving to Silicon Valley, he worked as an engineer and designer at Apple, Facebook, and Instagram. Most recently, Majd started Darkroom, a company to build tools for photographers. Over time, his passion for photography and storytelling has grown, and that passion is what drove the idea behind Displaced.
Despite leaving years before the start of the war, he has visited the country every year until the start of the war. What started as an idea for a small art project has blossomed into the project you are reading about today.
Photographer, New York City
Sara Kerens is a New York City–based photographer who has set out to capture the human experience. For the past ten years her focus has been on fashion, travel, commercial, and documentary work. As a visual storyteller, she has photographed iconic figures from Barack Obama, to Margaret Thatcher, to Chinese civil rights activist Cheng Guangcheng, and documented a broad range of experiences from Susan Sarandon and Alan Cumming on top of the Empire State Building to the hundreds of refugees across Turkey and Europe for the Displaced book. Sara has also photographed backstage at New York Fashion Week and London Fashion Week and has been featured in top publications worldwide. Her work seeks to bring understanding through the common humanity in us all.
By October 2015, thousands of refugees arriving in Turkey could find themselves on a boat to Greece just hours later. Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans began viewing the trip as the only viable alternative to their dire situation. Smugglers became well known, and the trip was well documented. The journey became demystified, eroding the barrier of fear around it. By the end of 2015, more than one million refugees had sought asylum in Europe. Their stories are the subject of this book.
International media has documented the crisis through a macro lens. In contrast, Displaced shines a light on the individuals behind the crisis and their struggle to rebuild and move forward with their lives.