missjessieparks

Jessie Parks

Words 'n Pictures

Joanna is a Syrian Kurd—been here about 19 months. And those American girls on either side of her are Maddie and Hannah, her two best friends. In recent weeks I've gone to ballet lessons, impromptu bike rides, and Stone Mountain park with them. I’ve heard the stories of their families over countless cups of strong black tea—and made it hopelessly impossible for myself not to love them dearly. I’ve been documenting their wonderfully uncommon friendship with my camera, and regularly adding to the bottom of a seemingly interminable Word document.
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I haven’t a clue where it will all end up, nor do I much care. I just know it needs to be done—if only to teach me what I’ve yet to learn.
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But if I may, can I share this bit from a recorded conversation last week with Joanna’s mom, Araz? And if it suits you, would you mind doing as she asks?
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"Good gracious, the world is not right," I said after she relived their escape from Aleppo to Istanbul, "It’s not right that we get to live here in so much….Most Americans...they don’t understand—I don’t even understand what you have seen with your eyes… And...in America you can go your whole day and not think or know anything about what’s going on in Syria, ya know? Everything is blue skies and fine… [But] you—you have seen what [you ran] from." She nodded to agree, so I asked, "If you could say something to Americans…what would you say to them? What would you say they can do?"
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She looked at me as if it shouldn’t have been a question and replied confidently, “Pray."

Joanna is a Syrian Kurd—been here about 19 months. And those American girls on either side of her are Maddie and Hannah, her two best friends. In recent weeks I've gone to ballet lessons, impromptu bike rides, and Stone Mountain park with them. I’ve heard the stories of their families over countless cups of strong black tea—and made it hopelessly impossible for myself not to love them dearly. I’ve been documenting their wonderfully uncommon friendship with my camera, and regularly adding to the bottom of a seemingly interminable Word document. . I haven’t a clue where it will all end up, nor do I much care. I just know it needs to be done—if only to teach me what I’ve yet to learn. . But if I may, can I share this bit from a recorded conversation last week with Joanna’s mom, Araz? And if it suits you, would you mind doing as she asks? . "Good gracious, the world is not right," I said after she relived their escape from Aleppo to Istanbul, "It’s not right that we get to live here in so much….Most Americans...they don’t understand—I don’t even understand what you have seen with your eyes… And...in America you can go your whole day and not think or know anything about what’s going on in Syria, ya know? Everything is blue skies and fine… [But] you—you have seen what [you ran] from." She nodded to agree, so I asked, "If you could say something to Americans…what would you say to them? What would you say they can do?" . She looked at me as if it shouldn’t have been a question and replied confidently, “Pray." - 4 days ago

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Dear friends, not to by any means make light of Friday's political happenings and your reasonable conclusion on one side or the other, or to curtail your righteous anger or proud "whoo-rah" for the prez...
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But could it be that maybe—just maybe—the recent "upheaval" is a necessary (perhaps, then, GOOD—can I say that??) fire under all our hind ends to take action? And I don’t just mean action like powerful poster protests, social media weigh in's, or healthy debates around the kitchen table—but to do what has been your responsibility all along? Perhaps channel all that passion and time given to participate and drive to and from public demonstrations or debates to instead go and care for the sojourners TODAY: feed them, invite them in, *listen* to them, clothe them, and look after them. Imagine how different the world would be if each of us—YOU—did all you're able with your five loaves and two fish.
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#Atlanta, message me. I can connect you to plenty of refugees who are feeling very vulnerable and fearful in the wake of all this—they need you. Please make them the priority. (Also, odds are they’ll feed YOU a FEAST! Ha!)
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If you're not in Atlanta, see link in my profile for a list of refugee aid organizations possibly near you.
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@natebramsen said it beautifully:
"Do we actually care more about refugees (and each other) or just about making a raucous?
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If you are aching, as I am, GO TO THEM!...
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Hundreds of refugees STILL come into the USA daily. When was the last time you invited a refugee INTO your home for a home-cooked meal? How many refugees' phone numbers do you have in your contacts? How much does YOUR lifestyle CHANGE because you ache for refugees to be well cared for and compassionately loved? When did you last offer to tutor a refugee in English?
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Have we become a nation where carrying a sign is noble, but caring for your neighbor is virtually unheard of? What changes opinions more effectively? Protests insulting leadership or people demonstrating sacrificial love? Are we ready to live loud lives of love?
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Change doesn't start in the White House. It starts in my house."

Dear friends, not to by any means make light of Friday's political happenings and your reasonable conclusion on one side or the other, or to curtail your righteous anger or proud "whoo-rah" for the prez... . But could it be that maybe—just maybe—the recent "upheaval" is a necessary (perhaps, then, GOOD—can I say that??) fire under all our hind ends to take action? And I don’t just mean action like powerful poster protests, social media weigh in's, or healthy debates around the kitchen table—but to do what has been your responsibility all along? Perhaps channel all that passion and time given to participate and drive to and from public demonstrations or debates to instead go and care for the sojourners TODAY: feed them, invite them in, *listen* to them, clothe them, and look after them. Imagine how different the world would be if each of us—YOU—did all you're able with your five loaves and two fish. . #Atlanta , message me. I can connect you to plenty of refugees who are feeling very vulnerable and fearful in the wake of all this—they need you. Please make them the priority. (Also, odds are they’ll feed YOU a FEAST! Ha!) . If you're not in Atlanta, see link in my profile for a list of refugee aid organizations possibly near you. . @natebramsen said it beautifully: "Do we actually care more about refugees (and each other) or just about making a raucous? . If you are aching, as I am, GO TO THEM!... . Hundreds of refugees STILL come into the USA daily. When was the last time you invited a refugee INTO your home for a home-cooked meal? How many refugees' phone numbers do you have in your contacts? How much does YOUR lifestyle CHANGE because you ache for refugees to be well cared for and compassionately loved? When did you last offer to tutor a refugee in English? . Have we become a nation where carrying a sign is noble, but caring for your neighbor is virtually unheard of? What changes opinions more effectively? Protests insulting leadership or people demonstrating sacrificial love? Are we ready to live loud lives of love? . Change doesn't start in the White House. It starts in my house." - 25 days ago

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Yesterday on International Holocaust Remembrance Day President #Trump signed an executive memorandum in an effort to grant Christian refugees and others from minority religions priority over Muslim refugees entering the United States by temporarily banning the entry of ALL Libyans, Somalians, Yemenis, Sudanese, Iraqis, and Iranis—even families on airplanes en route to America while the order was being signed. Further, Syrians were singled out as, "detrimental to the interests of the United States," and blocked from entry indefinitely.
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That is a sizable portion of a region far too many brethren before us have assiduously pleaded before God to open doors to, that they might share together with those people that which we cannot lose. And today they are coming to us in droves! Yet we have instead sought to keep safe for ourselves that which we will all one day lose—and close the doors.
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I am with you, #America; I want to be wise and keep my family safe. But this? This?
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Dear me, our brothers and sisters are surely rolling in their graves.
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#wewelcomerefugees #refugeecrisis #kurdistan #iraqikurdistan #everydaymiddleeast #everydayiraq #soran #refugeecrisis #documentary #burnmagazine #photojournalism #reportagespotlight #yourshotphotographer #lensculture #natgeo #refugees

Yesterday on International Holocaust Remembrance Day President #Trump signed an executive memorandum in an effort to grant Christian refugees and others from minority religions priority over Muslim refugees entering the United States by temporarily banning the entry of ALL Libyans, Somalians, Yemenis, Sudanese, Iraqis, and Iranis—even families on airplanes en route to America while the order was being signed. Further, Syrians were singled out as, "detrimental to the interests of the United States," and blocked from entry indefinitely. . That is a sizable portion of a region far too many brethren before us have assiduously pleaded before God to open doors to, that they might share together with those people that which we cannot lose. And today they are coming to us in droves! Yet we have instead sought to keep safe for ourselves that which we will all one day lose—and close the doors. . I am with you, #America ; I want to be wise and keep my family safe. But this? This? . Dear me, our brothers and sisters are surely rolling in their graves. . . . . . . #wewelcomerefugees #refugeecrisis #kurdistan #iraqikurdistan #everydaymiddleeast #everydayiraq #soran #refugeecrisis #documentary #burnmagazine #photojournalism #reportagespotlight #yourshotphotographer #lensculture #natgeo #refugees - 28 days ago

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ATLANTA! If you're a photographer, love photography, or just sad and lonely--come to #ATLPhotoNight tonight at 7p. @kevindliles went a little cuckoo and thought it be a good idea to hand me a microphone! 😱
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I'll be sharing some work and would love to see you!
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We'll be at @citizen.supply at @poncecitymarket savin' you a seat.
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 #atlphotonight #kurdistan #iraqikurdistan #everydaymiddleeast #everydayiraq #soran #documentary #burnmagazine #photojournalism #reportagespotlight #yourshotphotographer #lensculture #natgeo

ATLANTA! If you're a photographer, love photography, or just sad and lonely--come to #ATLPhotoNight tonight at 7p. @kevindliles went a little cuckoo and thought it be a good idea to hand me a microphone! . I'll be sharing some work and would love to see you! . We'll be at @citizen.supply at @poncecitymarket savin' you a seat. . . . . . . #atlphotonight #kurdistan #iraqikurdistan #everydaymiddleeast #everydayiraq #soran #documentary #burnmagazine #photojournalism #reportagespotlight #yourshotphotographer #lensculture #natgeo - 1 month ago

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I’ve been listening this afternoon to the long chat my friend Mary Beacom and I had with the elder woman on the left back in May 2016. I’m working to write her story down, and plan to share some of it with you all. Forgive me for not doing it sooner. I just want to do it right—for her.
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Her name is Gawaré. She is a Yazidi woman living at the Rwanduz refugee camp built by @therefugeinitiative.
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I hope to see her soon.
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#lalish #yazidi #sinjar #kurdistan #iraqikurdistan #everydaymiddleeast #everydayiraq #soran #refugeecrisis #documentary #burnmagazine #photojournalism #reportagespotlight #yourshotphotographer #lensculture #natgeo #theglobewanderer

I’ve been listening this afternoon to the long chat my friend Mary Beacom and I had with the elder woman on the left back in May 2016. I’m working to write her story down, and plan to share some of it with you all. Forgive me for not doing it sooner. I just want to do it right—for her. . Her name is Gawaré. She is a Yazidi woman living at the Rwanduz refugee camp built by @therefugeinitiative. . I hope to see her soon. . . . . . . #lalish #yazidi #sinjar #kurdistan #iraqikurdistan #everydaymiddleeast #everydayiraq #soran #refugeecrisis #documentary #burnmagazine #photojournalism #reportagespotlight #yourshotphotographer #lensculture #natgeo #theglobewanderer - 2 months ago

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"I’m going to make everything around me beautiful—that will be my life."
-Elsie De Wolfe
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Yes—for this year and all ones I'm given thereafter. Happiest of New Years to you and yours. xx

"I’m going to make everything around me beautiful—that will be my life." -Elsie De Wolfe . Yes—for this year and all ones I'm given thereafter. Happiest of New Years to you and yours. xx - 2 months ago

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#bestnine2016 Happy New Year. Y'all be good.

#bestnine2016 Happy New Year. Y'all be good. - 2 months ago

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"It is said of God that no one can behold his face and live. I always thought this meant that no one could see his splendor and live. A friend said perhaps it meant that no one could see his sorrow and live. Or perhaps his sorrow is splendor.”
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-Nicholas Wolterstorff
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(Photo from May 2016, Rwanduz Yazidi refugee camp built by the @therefugeinitiative)

"It is said of God that no one can behold his face and live. I always thought this meant that no one could see his splendor and live. A friend said perhaps it meant that no one could see his sorrow and live. Or perhaps his sorrow is splendor.” . -Nicholas Wolterstorff . (Photo from May 2016, Rwanduz Yazidi refugee camp built by the @therefugeinitiative ) - 2 months ago

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On Refugees: More Than Escape
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Wrote a new blog post on World Orphans site. #Repost @worldorphans with @repostapp
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"Nothing seemed to bring about more rage in her than finding him with a newspaper; she’d rush at him in fury and snatch it from his hands." {Continue Reading: Link in Profile} #iraq #refugees #education #brightfutures #hope @therefugeinitiative, @hearthecry

On Refugees: More Than Escape . Wrote a new blog post on World Orphans site. #Repost @worldorphans with @repostapp ・・・ "Nothing seemed to bring about more rage in her than finding him with a newspaper; she’d rush at him in fury and snatch it from his hands." {Continue Reading: Link in Profile} #iraq #refugees #education #brightfutures #hope @therefugeinitiative , @hearthecry - 2 months ago

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Another from Lalish, the holiest temple of the Yazidi faith in Dohuk, northern Iraq (May 2016).
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#lalish #yazidi #sinjar #shingal #dohuk #kurdistan #iraqikurdistan #everydaymiddleeast #everydayiraq #soran #refugee #documentary #burnmagazine #photojournalism #reportagespotlight #lensculture #justgoshoot #natgeo #peoplescreatives #theglobewanderer #instagoodmyphoto #yourshotphotographer

Another from Lalish, the holiest temple of the Yazidi faith in Dohuk, northern Iraq (May 2016). . . . . . . #lalish #yazidi #sinjar #shingal #dohuk #kurdistan #iraqikurdistan #everydaymiddleeast #everydayiraq #soran #refugee #documentary #burnmagazine #photojournalism #reportagespotlight #lensculture #justgoshoot #natgeo #peoplescreatives #theglobewanderer #instagoodmyphoto #yourshotphotographer - 2 months ago

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This is Tariq, a kind Yazidi man from Sinjar who fled his home in 2014. Right now one of his sons is at a refugee camp in Greece, but he and the rest of his family are living in the Rwandz camp built by @therefugeinitiative.
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The Yazidis are a small Iraqi ethnic minority whose ancient faith is a largely misunderstood blend of Assyrian and Mesopotamian pre-Islamic traditions, Christianity, and Islam. For centuries they have been a target of hatred for their reputation as 'devil worshipers.’ In 2014 ISIS raided the Sinjar region, abducting 7,000 women and girls as sex slaves and massacring 5,000 civilians who refused to convert, which led to the expulsion of nearly 500,000 Yazidis from their ancestral land. Thousands were entrapped on nearby Mt. Sinjar—the highest peak is considered to be the final resting place of Noah’s Ark.
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Back in May I went with Tariq and a few of our friends to Lalish (pictured above), the holy temple of the Yazidi faith in Dohuk—a place all Yazidis are expected to pilgrimage to during their lifetime. Tariq and other Yazidis kissed the doorframes, walls, and grounds of the shrine. They asked us to step deliberately over the all door thresholds for reasons I never quite understood. It was the only ritual we were asked to observe, aside from leaving our shoes at the entrance to the grounds.

This is Tariq, a kind Yazidi man from Sinjar who fled his home in 2014. Right now one of his sons is at a refugee camp in Greece, but he and the rest of his family are living in the Rwandz camp built by @therefugeinitiative. . The Yazidis are a small Iraqi ethnic minority whose ancient faith is a largely misunderstood blend of Assyrian and Mesopotamian pre-Islamic traditions, Christianity, and Islam. For centuries they have been a target of hatred for their reputation as 'devil worshipers.’ In 2014 ISIS raided the Sinjar region, abducting 7,000 women and girls as sex slaves and massacring 5,000 civilians who refused to convert, which led to the expulsion of nearly 500,000 Yazidis from their ancestral land. Thousands were entrapped on nearby Mt. Sinjar—the highest peak is considered to be the final resting place of Noah’s Ark. . Back in May I went with Tariq and a few of our friends to Lalish (pictured above), the holy temple of the Yazidi faith in Dohuk—a place all Yazidis are expected to pilgrimage to during their lifetime. Tariq and other Yazidis kissed the doorframes, walls, and grounds of the shrine. They asked us to step deliberately over the all door thresholds for reasons I never quite understood. It was the only ritual we were asked to observe, aside from leaving our shoes at the entrance to the grounds. - 3 months ago

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Barefoot at Lalish--the holy temp of the Yazidi faith.

Barefoot at Lalish--the holy temp of the Yazidi faith. - 3 months ago

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“I’m not Daesh!” the imam said with arms wide and proud.
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I grinned. “Oh, I know.” I said, making my way through the door to a massive assortment of shoes. I could feel as many eyes on me as there were shoes long before I looked up from adding mine to the pile. I may have been covered head to toe like the gals in Soran, but I was still a gal—and this was a fella’s place and a fella’s-only prayer.
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So confession: I was beginning to think my little “visit” was gonna be another one of those minor catastrophes culminating in some over the phone lecture from my dad on eleventh-hour-learning and the errors of my erratic ways...
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Turns out, though, it wasn’t. And my dad really likes this photograph.
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#eveningprayer #Isha 
#feetwashing #islam

“I’m not Daesh!” the imam said with arms wide and proud. . I grinned. “Oh, I know.” I said, making my way through the door to a massive assortment of shoes. I could feel as many eyes on me as there were shoes long before I looked up from adding mine to the pile. I may have been covered head to toe like the gals in Soran, but I was still a gal—and this was a fella’s place and a fella’s-only prayer. . So confession: I was beginning to think my little “visit” was gonna be another one of those minor catastrophes culminating in some over the phone lecture from my dad on eleventh-hour-learning and the errors of my erratic ways... . Turns out, though, it wasn’t. And my dad really likes this photograph. . #eveningprayer #Isha #feetwashing #islam - 3 months ago

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Her chador was longer than she is tall. She came and sat close to me after this in silence while we listened to the imam teach over the intercom. He was upstairs with the men. It was Friday prayer and I loved the light through those windows, and how soft and white and clean the fabric wrapped around her was. (May 2016)
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#jumuah #muslim #chador #muslimwomen #women #soran #kurdistan #iraqikurdistan #everydaymiddleeast #everydayiraq #soran #documentary #burnmagazine #photojournalism #reportagespotlight #myfeatureshoot #natgeo #vicenews #lensculture #justgoshoot #peoplescreatives #visualsoflife #theglobewanderer #ourdailyplanet #exploretocreate #earthofficial #lifeonourplanet #awesomeearth #earthfocus #instagoodmyphoto

Her chador was longer than she is tall. She came and sat close to me after this in silence while we listened to the imam teach over the intercom. He was upstairs with the men. It was Friday prayer and I loved the light through those windows, and how soft and white and clean the fabric wrapped around her was. (May 2016) . . . . . . #jumuah #muslim #chador #muslimwomen #women #soran #kurdistan #iraqikurdistan #everydaymiddleeast #everydayiraq #soran #documentary #burnmagazine #photojournalism #reportagespotlight #myfeatureshoot #natgeo #vicenews #lensculture #justgoshoot #peoplescreatives #visualsoflife #theglobewanderer #ourdailyplanet #exploretocreate #earthofficial #lifeonourplanet #awesomeearth #earthfocus #instagoodmyphoto - 3 months ago

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Hi. So they don't fix shoes like this where I come from. 🔥#cobbler

Hi. So they don't fix shoes like this where I come from. #cobbler - 3 months ago

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Kurdish cobbler, with Cig 👞🚬

Kurdish cobbler, with Cig - 3 months ago

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It's #Thanksgiving week in America. And I just want to say that I'm thankful for this man in Kurdistan.

It's #Thanksgiving week in America. And I just want to say that I'm thankful for this man in Kurdistan. - 3 months ago

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'Cause I know sometimes things are shitty in life for all of us—particularly in that region of the world (in case you missed the mass media capitalizing on that). But things aren't always shitty. Some folks over there are in the "shitty", but they are alive and well facing it with grit and gratefulness.

God have mercy; I want to be like them.

'Cause I know sometimes things are shitty in life for all of us—particularly in that region of the world (in case you missed the mass media capitalizing on that). But things aren't always shitty. Some folks over there are in the "shitty", but they are alive and well facing it with grit and gratefulness. God have mercy; I want to be like them. - 3 months ago

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