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St. Paul has a plan to pursue more equitable education by closing and merging schools. But immigrant parents say it would hurt their communities.

Somali American parents in St. Paul say a plan to close Highwood Hills Elementary would endanger a neighborhood hub. Latino parents say they weren’t included in the decision to close Wellstone Elementary. With a school-board vote coming soon, immigrant parents want to be heard.

Posted inHEALTH

We asked a Minnesota family physician how to keep our families safe from COVID-19 this holiday season—without retreating into isolation (again).

Yes, COVID-19 is bad in Minnesota right now. But Dr. Ndidiamaka Koka has updated advice about how to manage risks and avoid COVID while shopping, celebrating with family, attending concerts and sporting events, and more. Here are her tips on masking, boosters, ventilation, going into stores with young children, and enjoying the season. “I want people to be wise, safe, but not scared,” Dr. Koka says.


Sahan Journal receives Google News Initiative funding to collaborate with community news organizations that broadcast in Spanish, Hmong, and Somali.

Google News Initiative’s 2021 North America Innovation Challenge seeks to help local media learn more about the news needs of their communities. The program will give more than $3.2 million to 25 projects, selected from 190 applicants. Sahan Journal will work with community media—La Raza 95.7z FM, 3HmongTV, and Somali TV Minnesota—to help serve audiences in languages other than English.


This year, Minnesota school-board meetings endured a backlash against diversity. On Election Day, three suburban districts elected Somali Americans for the first time.

What does diverse school-board representation look like? Scrapping hoodie bans and congratulating new graduates in Somali. Across the south and west metro—Burnsville, St. Louis Park, and Rosemount–Apple Valley–Eagan—voters chose new Somali American school board members.


Three young Democratic Socialists elected to Minneapolis City Council are eager to pass progressive policies to benefit the city’s working class.

Aisha Chughtai, Jason Chavez, and Robin Wonsley Worlobah must work alongside a mayor whose approach and ideology they disagree with. They’ll also have to navigate a new system that took executive power from the council and allocated it to the mayor.

Posted inCOVID-19 Vaccine Project

Everything kids and parents need to know about getting the COVID-19 vaccine: a video in Hmong, Spanish, Somali, Oromo, and English.

This week, kids ages 5–11 become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Does your child have questions about why to get a shot and what to expect? We made a video for kids, featuring doctors and nurses who work with children. Please check it out—in Hmong, Spanish, Somali, and English.

Posted inCOVID-19 Vaccine Project

Wax kasta oo waalidiinta iyo carruurtu ay u baahan yihiin in ay ka ogaadaan tallaalka COVID-19.

Usbuucan, carruurta da’doodu u dhaxayso 5-11 sano ayaa waxay xaq u yeesheen in ay helaan tallaalka COVID-19. Carruurtaadu wax su’aalo ah ma ka qabaan sababta ay tallaalka u qaadanayaan iyo waxyaabaha dhici kara marka ay qaataan? Waxaan fiidiyow u samaynay carruurta, kaas oon ku soo bandhignay dhakhaatiir iyo kalkaaliyayaal la shaqeeya carruuro oo ay arrintan kaga warbixinayaan.

Posted inCOVID-19 Vaccine Project

Txhua yam uas niamtxiv thiab menyuam yuav tsum paub txog koob tshuaj tivthaiv tus kabmob COVID-19.

Lub week no, cov menyuam 5 xyoo mus txog 11 xyoo muaj feem cuam mus txhaj koob txhuaj tivthaiv tus kabmob COVID-19. Koj tus menyuam puas muaj lus nug txog vim licas ho thiaj li yuav tau txhaj koob tshuaj no thiab yog txhaj tag lawm no nws yuav zoo li cas? Peb muaj ib daim yeeb yaj kiab qhia cov menyuam los ntawm cov kws kho mob thiab cov nurses uas ib txwm ua haujlwm nrog cov menyuam yaus.

Posted in2021 Elections

Minneapolis City Council candidates for Uptown, Whittier address housing and public safety challenges

Two immigrant women of color, Aisha Chughtai and Ubah Nur, are running in Minneapolis’ Ward 10 to replace current Council president Lisa Bender, who is not seeking re-election. Chughtai, a union political organizer, supports tenant protections and violence-prevention training for frontline responders. Nur, a job counselor, would seek policies that expand housing options for larger families and unlock the professional talents of newer immigrants.


Minneapolis mayoral candidate Kate Knuth releases detailed immigration policy plan.

With less than a week to go until Election Day, Knuth says she would prioritize immigrant rights by fortifying Minneapolis’ “sanctuary city” policies. Her administration would also push for a “Minneapolis Dream Act” to support some undocumented residents. Candidates Sheila Nezhad and AJ Awed criticized elements of Knuth’s plan and proposed other pro-immigrant initiatives.


In a new film, Minnesota choreographers Jonathan ‘AJ’ van Arneman and Peace Madimutsa imagine an escape from brutality and the creation of a global Black utopia.

Macalester College graduates Jonathan ‘AJ’ van Arneman and Peace Madimutsa explore the Middle Passage through dance forms like crump, break dance, vogue, and capoeira. With Atlantis 13 and now Atlantis Rebirth, the choreographers have created a world where Black people experience liberation. “The whole idea of Atlantis is finding unity,” van Arneman says. “You’re going through these revolutions for a purpose. The end can be the fulfillment of who we were meant to be.”

Posted inImmigration

The 44-day journey that changed Muhammad Nishat’s life

Until August, Muhammad Nishat performed humanitarian work in his home country of Afghanistan. Now, he lives with his wife and eight kids in a Twin Cities hotel room. The trip included stops in Qatar, Germany, Washington D.C., and a military base in Virginia. In the coming weeks and months, state agencies, nonprofits, and volunteers will help 500 Afghans like Nishat start over in Minnesota.


‘I caused this tragedy, and it is my burden’: Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, in his own words.

After fatally shooting Justine Ruszczyk in south Minneapolis, Mohamed Noor recounted in court how he’d arrived in America and his path to becoming a cop. Later, he apologized for his culpability in her death. With Mohamed’s resentencing this week, we took another look at his trial testimony. It’s not what many people in Minnesota remember.


Sheila Nezhad’s run for Minneapolis mayor focuses on transforming public safety and making the city more democratic.

Running against incumbent Jacob Frey, Nezhad received the majority of votes at the city’s DFL convention and has been endorsed by an array of progressive groups. She supports community-based initiatives including a Black-led reparations commission and a $10 million investment in participatory budgeting.


Mukhtar Ibrahim, founder of Sahan Journal, wins ‘Emerging Leader of the Year’ award in national nonprofit news competition

The Institute for Nonprofit News announced winners Wednesday in the organization’s first awards contest. INN honored Mukhtar Ibrahim for his work creating an innovative, sustainable news operation dedicated to equity and community. Sahan Journal was a finalist in three of the contest’s nine categories.


Minnesotans of color trust news media, according to a new survey. But they say coverage includes ‘too few stories’ about people like them.

Black, Latino, and Asian populations registered higher levels of trust in media than white Minnesotans. But the new Diverse Communities Survey from APM Research Lab found dissatisfaction with negative community coverage. White Republicans reported the lowest trust in the news.


Free muffins, a fancy cappuccino machine, and a $1,000 signing bonus: A Minnesota school-bus-company CEO talks about the struggle to hire drivers amid the pandemic worker shortage.

Sacad Guled owns and operates a fleet of 50 yellow buses and minivans across the Twin Cities, largely serving charter schools. These days, he says, he’s also driving a school bus route himself. Sacad told Sahan Journal what he’s doing to hire and retain drivers—and why $25 an hour often can’t compete with job offers from Amazon.

Posted inHOUSING

Some 50,000 Minnesota households have fallen behind on rent. With the COVID eviction moratorium ending soon, housing nonprofits want to help renters apply for help catching up.

Two-thirds of Minnesota households that owe back rent are people of color. A coalition of housing organizations can help Minnesota renters fill out applications, translate forms, communicate with landlords, assemble paperwork, and more. Undocumented Minnesotans can apply, too.


Sondra Samuels, Minneapolis nonprofit leader, reaches wrongful death settlement in the fatal drowning of a 6-year-old neighbor.

Newly obtained records show Don and Sondra Samuels took Isaac Childress III on a bike ride to Boom Island. There, the boy drowned in the Mississippi River. Isaac was a “NAZ scholar” with the Northside Achievement Zone, where Sondra Samuels is the CEO. She and her husband Don Samuels, a former City Council member, recently sued Minneapolis over policing and the public safety ballot amendment.

Posted inHOUSING

No driver’s license? No housing. Minnesota immigrants, advocates say missing government-issued IDs keep people out of stable homes.

A woman called D.N. came to the U.S. from Liberia as a 1-year-old refugee. Her father became a naturalized citizen, but she never did. Now a mother of two children herself, and often homeless, she needs a birth certificate to find long-term housing. Like many immigrants, she says getting those documents has proved impossible.


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.


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.