"Do not oppress a stranger; you yourselves know how it feels to be strangers, because you were strangers in Egypt.” Exodus 23:9

At Passover, Jews all over the world are re-telling the story of their Exodus from Egypt. Unfortunately that story remains all too relevant today, as the world faces the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Approximately 60 million refugees from war and persecution around the world are seeking safety and a better life, just as many of our ancestors did. As states and countries move to pass legislation to keep refugees out, it’s more important than ever that we not lose sight of our compassion and humanity.

That’s why Creative Action Network and the Anti-Defamation League are teaming up to invite artists to illustrate refugee stories from across time and geography. Maybe your family fled pogroms in Eastern Europe, from Nazism, from political oppression in Iran or the Soviet Union. Maybe you know someone who fled Uganda or other countries that persecute members of the LGBT community, fearful that their sexual orientation or gender identity would put them in grave danger. Maybe you are concerned about how many today have to flee extreme violence and persecution, whether from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Central America or some other land. No matter where refugees came from or their reason for fleeing, each story is unique--but connected. We hope to build a collection of pieces that rise above the noise and hateful rhetoric by humanizing the refugee experience.

Like these stunning photographs of Ellis Island Immigrants or these portraits of Syrian Refugees, we’re inviting artists to illustrate portraits depicting a refugee’s exodus. Each piece should depict a pivotal moment in the story of a refugee’s life--whether a family member, someone you know whose personal story has inspired you, or one of the incredible stories found on the UN’s Refugee Story Project (not the only source for powerful refugee stories, but a good one!). The entire collection will show how diverse and universal the refugee experience truly is.

Your design should: 

  • Depict a pivotal moment in the story of a refugee’s exodus. If you don't know a refugee, checkout UNHCR Refugee Stories, the US Holocaust MuseumDoctors without Borders, HIAS, or Women on the Run for inspiration.
  • Include the text “We Were Strangers Too”
  • Provide as much context as to the time place and if possible, reason for their flight.
  • Be a vertically oriented, 12" by 16" RGB image at 300dpi (3600 by 4800 pixels) that is a JPG or PNG

Your design should not:

  • Include urls or logos (small artist signatures are fine)
  • Use copyrighted images or images that don't belong to you. All images you use should be your own, or available under a creative commons or other similar license.
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