"I Am A Kentuckian" video project highlights the diverse contributions of Kentucky's immigrant and refugee population.
When Lexington-based chef Dan Wu attended the Immigrant & Refugee Day in Frankfort last February, he was struck by a phrase repeated by each of the speakers when introducing themselves: "I am a Kentuckian."
"That refrain, repeated by everyone who took the stage to speak on behalf of immigrant and refugee rights, really resonated with me," Dan says. "Our strength as a state and as a nation comes from our diversity. We the many, are one."
The event and the message inspired Dan to create a video project that expresses the diversity and the unity of what it means to be a Kentuckian. Dan approached Kentucky for Kentucky for support and we were only too happy to sponsor the project. Dan then gathered a diverse cast of immigrants and refugees from throughout the local community and crafted an impactful video that drives this message home. Filmmaker Ian Friley lent his videography and editing talents, Achu Normad composed and performed an original score, and John Ferguson engineered the sound. Many others throughout the community also helped bring the project to life.
Many of the people featured in the video also spoke during a launch event held at Smiley Pete Publishing's headquarters. It was a beautiful evening filled with music, food, great conversation and camaraderie. In many ways the event embodied the unity in diversity message conveyed by the video, and Dan hopes that the project continues to spark these conversations. Photos are by Mothwing Photography.
We love the message and the video project, so we've also created an "I Am A Kentuckian" print and tees that reflect the theme. Designed by The Hern and printed on high-quality stock by The Giant Robot, the new tees and a small run of prints are currently available online. in Lexington. All of the proceeds from their sale directly benefit Kentucky Refugee Ministries and the Kentucky Equal Justice Center.