Why ‘Made By Refugee’ Stickers Are Appearing on Goods All Over New York
By Ryan General
March 27, 2017
In a bid to remind New Yorkers where they usually get their favorite things, a creative duo decided to go to different New York boroughs to place “made by refugee” stickers on goods that are originally non-American.
Both based in Queens, New York, photographer Kien Quan and partner Jillian Young plastered the stickers on a variety of items ranging from copies of the Bible to bottles of Sriracha chili sauce. Their project was also documented on video to further increase awareness, DNAinfo reports.
“I just had a thought, ‘If this refugee didn’t come over and create Sriracha, nobody in Brooklyn would be saying ‘This is the newest rage,'” Quan was quoted as saying in reference to the popular sauce created by Vietnamese refugee David Tran.
According to Quan, he was inspired to do the project after Donald Trump initiated his first refugee ban in January.
An article about the resistance to accepting refugees after the Vietnam War made him realize that Americans may have never known the now-iconic Sriracha sauce if Tran was prevented from entering the U.S. at the time.
With his project, he intends to remind New Yorkers about the people who should take the credit for the products they’ve grown to love.
After spending several days covering different parts of the city, the creative duo wrapped up the campaign last month and uploaded the video on their Facebook page “Made by Refugee” on March 15. Interestingly, those who want to join in and help the project can download the refugee sticker sheets from Quan’s Google Drive.
Quan is hoping that those who continuously support Trump’s policies rethink their position on immigration and refugees upon seeing the stickers on the products they enjoy.
“I have family that were migrants in the past. I’m Vietnamese,” said Quan. “Most of my friends are immigrants or are of color, so they all feel very concerned.
“I just felt like something had to be said — at the very minimum, let me see if I can change one person’s perspective or get them to think about the subject a little differently.”
Quan says the campaign has been well-received by members of the refugee communities, with many sending their thanks to the duo. Even employees of the establishments they went to have expressed support.
“I think it’s been rather positive — New York is a Yankee state,” Quan said. “If this was somewhere in the middle of America I would have pitchforks running at me.”
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