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Posted inInside Sahan Journal

What makes a useful voter guide? We started by asking immigrant groups in Minneapolis what they wanted to know about the 2021 city election

Sahan Journal collaborated with Pollen Midwest and Pillsbury United Communities to create a 2021 Minneapolis voter guide. Before we surveyed candidates for mayor and City Council, though, we surveyed immigrant communities. Voter advocates from Latino, Hmong, and Somali backgrounds talked about barriers to voting and how to win their support.

Posted inEducation

University of Minnesota appoints its first immigrant, person of color as dean at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs

An immigrant from Jamaica and former administrator at Georgia Tech, Dr. Nisha Botchwey brings her expertise in health, environment, youth engagement, and equity to the Humphrey School dean’s office. “The education that the Humphrey School provides allows for the elevation of a little Black girl like me,” Botchwey says.


Research team goes door-to-door talking to Latino business owners, hoping to identify barriers to energy efficiency and rebates

Utilities in Minnesota offer significant rebates on energy efficient equipment that can lower carbon footprints and save money. But, entrepreneurs like Fatima Landaverde, who owns the Rincon Chalateco restaurant in St. Paul, may face language barriers or be too busy to take advantage.

Posted inHEALTH

A Minnesota researcher thinks he’s figured out why Black populations die more often from colon cancer: screening and insurance.

Dr. Chyke Doubeni found that Black men die of colon cancer at higher rates than white men. The disparities are larger in East African communities. A south Minneapolis health clinic hired a Somali “medical navigator” to help guide patients toward testing with culturally sensitive care. The result: a giant increase in colon cancer screening—and saved lives.


Halima, a Somali elder in Minneapolis, hasn’t grown her own vegetables since leaving East Africa 27 years ago. This summer, farmer Naima Dhore helped plant a food garden for Halima and her neighbors.

Many Somali immigrants miss the okra, cowpeas, sorghum, and hibiscus they used to grow at home. Naima Dhore created the nonprofit Somali American Farmers Association to train the community in growing healthy, sustainable food.

Posted inDemographics

Minnesota’s most diverse cities? New U.S. Census data show communities of color growing in places like Austin and Worthington.

A friend told Modeste Zinzindohoue, a native of Benin, in West Africa, that Austin could provide a peaceful, affordable home. Over the past 10 years, some 500 other people from Benin have joined him there. We asked immigrants what’s attracting them to live and work in small, previously white communities.

Posted inEducation

Minnesotans battle over how to update school social studies standards. Out: ‘derogatory references’ to whiteness. In: the Pledge of Allegiance.

Every 10 years, Minnesota updates what K–12 students should learn in the state’s social studies classrooms. This year, a panel of educators suggested changes that focus on racial inclusion. Then, a conservative think tank rounded up more than 17,000 comments in opposition. Can the Minnesota Department of Education pass the test?

Posted inPolice

Confused by all the legal squabbles around the Minneapolis public safety amendment? We’ve got you covered! Your vote will count—and here’s a breakdown of what you’re voting on.

We’ve updated our ballot amendment FAQ to answer all your questions about the legal challenges, the judicial rulings–and what you need to do to make your voice heard in the city election this fall. Know this: A ballot amendment will give people in Minneapolis the opportunity to vote on a new plan. Does that mean abolition, defunding, reform, or something else? We’ve got answers!

Posted inSports

Boxing helped Mohammed Kayongo escape his past as a child soldier in Uganda. Now he wants to give kids in north Minneapolis a fighting chance.

Kidnapped by a messianic rebel movement at age 11, Kayongo discovered boxing in Ugandan army barracks. But the training he offers kids at the Northside Boxing Club, in Minneapolis, is anything but harsh. The gym provides free food, Black history lessons, and emotional support. As Kayongo puts it, “Most parenting is giving love. And most of our kids need more of that.”

Posted inCOVID-19 Vaccine Project

‘Why I got the COVID-19 vaccine’: Sahan Journal’s COVID-19 vaccine video series on the importance of getting vaccinated, in Spanish, Somali, Hmong, and English.

For the third installment in Sahan Journal’s COVID-19 vaccine video series, we spoke to three vaccinated people from the local Hmong, Somali, and Latino communities to share their thoughts on why getting vaccinated is important to them, and what their communities need to know about it.


Minneapolis Council spikes plan to expand public works facility in polluted East Phillips neighborhood. But urban farm proposal faces new challenges.

A confusing vote means uncertainty for the future of the 7.5-acre Roof Depot site in south Minneapolis. An expanded public-works facility will now need to find a new location. But environmental-justice advocates failed to win council approval for an urban farm development.

Posted inCoronavirus

Delta blues: New CDC guidelines suggest vaccinated people mask indoors in some Minnesota counties.

Is it time to mask up again? Here’s what you need to know about the Delta variant. Currently, the new indoor masking guidelines apply to 14 of Minnesota’s 87 counties—though in the Twin Cities metro, only Scott County is affected. To date, fully vaccinated people make up less than 1 percent of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state.

Posted inPolitics

Abuse survivors speak out about domestic violence allegations against John Thompson while Black activists struggle with double standards. Progressive legislators? No comment.

A traffic stop has led to waves of allegations against the DFL representative from St. Paul. Activists see a double standard in the media coverage and the calls for Thompson’s resignation. Approached by Sahan Journal, all 21 legislators in the POCI caucus—progressive legislators of color—offered no comment.

Posted inKilled By Police

On July 4, police killed Ricardo Torres in Olivia, Minnesota. Three days later, provocateurs in a truck rally disrupted his memorial vigil.

Family and friends from Minnesota and Texas gathered to remember Ricardo Torres at the site of his death. Mourners remembered Torres as a fun-loving jokester who loved whistling and fishing. Later, a truck convoy rolled up, responding to a flier on social media that predicted a “riot.”

Posted inEducation

As a child, Abdulaziz Mohamed looked to Barack Obama for proof he could be president. On July 1, he became the first Somali American student-body president at the University of Minnesota.

Abdulaziz sometimes felt lost growing up between between two worlds: the Muslim community in Minneapolis and the mostly white schools in Stillwater. He found his voice in student government, he says, helping “people who have also struggled early in life.”