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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Ulrich continues focus on refugee stories with documentary screening

The+Ulrich+Museum+of+Art+will+welcome+illusionist+Scott+Silven+to+celebrate+50+years.+Tickets+for+the+show%2C+including+a+three+course+meal%2C+are+on+sale+for+%24175+dollars.+24+WSU+students+will+be+picked+from+a+drawing+for+free+entry.+
Mel Bright
The Ulrich Museum of Art will welcome illusionist Scott Silven to celebrate 50 years. Tickets for the show, including a three course meal, are on sale for $175 dollars. 24 WSU students will be picked from a drawing for free entry.

The Ulrich highlighted its photo exhibit, “Where We Belong: Refugee Stories from Wichita” with a documentary screening. “Where We Belong” focuses on five refugee families from different countries living in Wichita.

“Midnight Traveler,” an award-winning 2019 film, tells the story of one refugee family’s harrowing journey. It follows filmmakers and husband and wife Hassan Fazili and Fatima Hussaini and their two daughters.

The couple used smartphones to film their family’s flight from Afghanistan to Hungary after being targeted by the Taliban. They faced threats from smugglers, freezing cold, anti-immigrant violence and long waits in overcrowded camps, only to face an uncertain future in Hungary.

Mythili Menon, an assistant professor of English and co-curator for “Where We Belong,” said the documentary was chosen to accompany the exhibit because it matched the goals of the exhibit’s organizers.

“This is a movie made by the (refugee) community, for the community,” Menon said. “Going with the theme of the exhibition, we’re telling their stories through their language, so we wanted to have a movie (which) resonates with what they want to show and tell rather than seeing it from the point of view of a third person.”

Menon emphasized the importance of sharing the stories of refugees in their native languages during a discussion with audience members after the screening.

“We wanted to make sure that they are heard in a voice that represents them the most,” she said. “We know that things get lost in translation.”

Menon and the photographer of the exhibit, Kendra Cremin, discussed the aftermath of journeys like the one featured in “Midnight Traveler” and experienced by the subjects of “Where We Belong.” After traveling thousands of miles, the family in “Midnight Traveler” waits in a refugee camp for three years to have their case heard. According to Menon, the average timeline for refugees to resettle is 10 to 26 years.

Menon said that several of the refugee families featured in “Where We Belong” received help through the International Rescue Committee.

“This is really only the beginning of new challenges,” Cremin said. “We always talk about integration in this country. That’s the term that we use. The refugees and asylees have to integrate into this society. What does that integration look like, and what resources do they have to help them integrate?”

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About the Contributors
Ainsley Smyth, Reporter
Ainsley Smyth is a second-year reporter for The Sunflower. Smyth is a sophomore communications major with an emphasis in journalism and media productions. Her dream job is to travel back in time 30 years and then be a reporter for Rolling Stone. Smyth uses she/her pronouns.
Mel Bright, Former reporter
Mel Bright was a reporter and photographer for The Sunflower. When Bright is not in school, they loves to dance, act and they do photography on the side for fun. Bright uses they/them pronouns.

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