Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Photos: Little Amal commences nationwide journey with first steps in Boston

Accompanied by resounding drumbeats and a jubilant welcoming atmosphere, Little Amal, whose name means “hope” in Arabic, kicked off her 6,000-mile tour across the United States Thursday afternoon in Boston in Dewey Square. The 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl has become a global symbol of human rights, spreading hope to displaced populations worldwide.

Amal, designed and built by Handstring Puppet Company, has embarked on an over two-year long trip through 15 countries to raise awareness of immigration issues. Throughout the journey, she conveyed a message on behalf of refugees and displaced people across the world—“Don’t forget about us.”

“The story of the United States has been shaped by a complex history of migration and movement that touches every corner of the globe,” said Amir Nizar Zuabi, artistic director of The Walk Productions. “But the myriad challenges of today’s interconnected world are forcing many to revisit America’s status as the land of opportunity.”

Down the Rose Kennedy Greenway, stretching from Dewey Square to the Chinatown gate, hundreds of people enthusiastically joined Amal during the sun-drenched afternoon, cheering the artists’ performances that adorned their path. Through a collaborative effort with local organizations including ArtsEmerson, The Walk featured a multitude of community artists collectively showcasing Boston’s past and present. 

Later that night, Amal arrived in Harvard Yard and was welcomed by awaiting students, faculty, staff and local residents. Spanning more than 35 cities and towns with stops including Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlanta, Amal will conclude her two-month trek on Nov. 5 at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego.

“Our hope for Amal is that she can spur conversations in communities across the country around the important role of refugees and newcomers in writing the ongoing story of the United States,” said Zuabi.

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  • Little Amal, a 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee, begins her nationwide journey in Boston in Dewey Square. (Yufei Meng for The Beacon)

  • Little Amal in Dewey Square. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

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  • Prior to the Walk, dancers, audiences and the DJ collaborate to liven up the atmosphere. (Yufei Meng for The Beacon)

  • Dancers in Dewey Square groove to the music before Little Amal’s arrival. (Yufei Meng for The Beacon)

  • Dancers and audiences sway to the music. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • A dancer enjoys the rhythm of music and dance on the sun-kissed afternoon. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

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  • Led by a band, Little Amal enters the Dewey Square Park with the accompaniment of booming drums and the assistance of puppeteers. (Yufei Meng for The Beacon)

  • Upon arriving in Dewey Square, Little Amal is greeted by awaiting participants, engaging with people amidst a buoyant atmosphere. (Yufei Meng for The Beacon)

  • People in the Square approach the booth to get details about the events. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • Captivated participants engage in close interactions with Little Amal. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • A participant holds a sign reading “My grandparents were refugees too!” as the crowd follows Little Amal out of Dewey Square. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • Participants take selfies together to remember their time spent with Little Amal. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • Little Amal and the puppeteers stroll through the Square and are enveloped by spectators. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • A band adds a lively touch to the atmosphere with their musical instruments on their way to Chinatown. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

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  • Under the Chinatown gate, Little Amal bends down to the crowd and holds a participant’s hand. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • Little Amal arrives at the Chinatown gate—which was once part of Boston’s Little Syria—a neighborhood stretching from today’s Chinatown to the South End. (Yufei Meng for The Beacon)

  • Lion dancers welcome Little Amal in front of the Chinatown gate. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • As the walk comes to a close, people bid farewell to Little Amal in Chinatown. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

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About the Contributors
Ashlyn Wang
Ashlyn Wang, Photo Editor
Ashlyn Wang (she/her) is a journalism major with minors in economics and psychology at Emerson College. She currently serves as the photo editor for the Beacon. She spends most of her free time on photography and creative writing.
Yufei Meng
Yufei Meng, Staff Photographer
Yufei Meng (she/her) is a sophomore from Hangzhou, China. She is a public relations major with a minor in business studies. Meng serves as a staff photographer for The Beacon. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring photography and having milk tea with extra boba after a photoshoot.

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