In 2009 I met the president of the Darfur People’s Association of New York. Motasim told me about a rally in DC that was going to take place in front of the Sudanese Embassy, and soon I was in Washington taking part.
In DC, I met dozens of immigrants and refugees from the Darfur region of the Sudan, and everyone I met was willing to let me take their picture. I chose to focus on Omar because his story is like that of so many others in the Darfuri community. Omar fled genocide in Darfur, only to struggle, as so many immigrants do, in a harsh and alien landscape called New York.
In 1999 I to too left my home country, as a Peace Corps Volunteer and later, Fulbright researcher. After five years abroad I was transformed into a participant multi-culturalist and ardent global citizen. The story of Omar in Brooklyn is very much tied to my own, seeing as we are both single men working overtime to make ends meet in a city foreign to us.
I pray for an end to violence, and I dedicate this book to the residents of Brooklyn’s Darfur community who accepted me into their homes without question.
Damian Wampler is a fine art photographer and US diplomat. Much of his inspiration and motivation stems from his years living overseas in Central Asia as a teacher, research and development worker. This background has cultivated an ability to work in difficult situations and build deep relationships with people from diverse backgrounds.