The Refuge Café—operated by Catholic Charities—offers a variety of dishes from the global grilled cheese to pulled pork. But beyond the menu, the café displays paintings by refugees from around the world. A patron today would find several oil paintings by Qasim Majeed lining the walls, transporting viewers to the streets of Baghdad. “The artwork on the walls—that’s people from all over the world,” general manager John Strawn said. “We have some Chaldean Iraqi artists. We have some Chinese farm art.” And, the art is on sale. Strawn said artists receive 75 percent of each sale. The remaining amount goes back toward funding the café.
Travis Cornejo is from Harlingen, Texas, not too far from the border. After high school, he attended the University of Missouri, where he became editor-in-chief of The Maneater student newspaper. He now calls Chicago home where he’s pursuing a graduate degree at Loyola University Chicago. Last fall, Travis began a six-month online fellowship at "Chicago Tonight" on the local PBS affiliate, which ignited his interest in digital journalism and public media.