With insurrection as one bookend and Biden inauguration as the other, teachers’ lessons are no longer just in books. They’re live on TV – and students have a lot to say about them
‘I’m looking for unity’: Minnesota immigrants share hopes for new Biden administration on Inauguration Day.
New Americans look for new administration to help overcome COVID-19, end the Muslim ban, and control guns.
The border wall, DACA, the ‘Muslim ban’ and more: Biden starts to undo the Trump legacy on immigration
Among the new president’s first acts are a series of actions taking direct aim at the harsh policies of his predecessor
Tentative contract agreement gives Minnesota home care workers a 15 percent raise.
Women of color and immigrants make up a large share of the home care workforce.
Black and brown people have been subject to suffering and neglect at the hands of doctors in the past. It’s still worth getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
As a doctor, I was skeptical about the speed with which COVID-19 vaccines were developed, and how they were politicized. Here’s how I worked through my doubts.
Everything you need to know about whether to send your kids back to the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools plan to bring elementary students back for in-person instruction in February. Meanwhile, Minnesota confronts high infection rates and a frightening new virus variant. What does the science say about family health risks and academic progress with remote learning—especially for people of color?
Karen couple get rare, private naturalization ceremony in their St. Paul home.
With the country still reeling from an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and on edge ahead of a precarious transition of power, many are reflecting on what it means to be American. Against that backdrop, many immigrants and refugees remain clear-eyed about the country’s promise, including a St. Paul couple who became citizens Friday, under unusual circumstances.
Some Latino businesses in Minnesota call 2020 their worst year ever.
Business owners report challenges securing COVID-19 aid in new state economy study. “If you’re not a citizen, you don’t qualify for a number of the programs that are out there,” says the president of the Latino Chamber of Commerce.
In an era of extraordinary tension, another challenge for state legislators of color: Personal security
They may be singled out by white nationalists, but don’t feel they can fully trust local law enforcement to keep them safe. And they need to work alongside colleagues who’ve supported the extremists.
The Biden administration is likely to reverse ‘public charge’ restrictions on aid to immigrants. Confusion over the rules will remain.
Even though a number of programs were exempt from limitations imposed by President Trump, immigrants worried about exposing themselves to deportation or other penalties.
Minneapolis teacher Mariam Mohamed thinks the emotional health of her students is more important this year than their multiplication tables.
The sixth-grade teacher and children’s author describes the challenges of moving school online: “The word that comes into my head when I think about this year—with COVID and teaching—is ‘struggle.’”
MSP Airport workers win $15-an-hour wage after four-year organizing fight
Employees who assist passengers and drive carts started as low as $7.25 a dozen years ago; 1,000 workers, including many immigrants, will receive new pay scale.
The perfect COVID-19 restaurant is a tiny Mexican take-out kitchen in Minneapolis that provides real family meals twice a week.
As a teenager, Gustavo Romero crossed the border to the United States and started his journey in restaurants. With his own restaurant, Nixta, in Northeast Minneapolis, he’s looking back home.
Black protesters in Minneapolis have encountered tear gas, rubber bullets, and batons. White pro-Trump crowds took selfies with U.S. Capitol police.
‘We’re seen as the real threats to this nation’: Activists say being Black, Somali, and Muslim leads to hostile police response; white Trumpists don’t need to worry.
Vilified by Trump, Ilhan Omar turns the tables by filing new articles of impeachment after Trump supporters seize U.S. Capitol.
Trump has accused her of corruption and ‘hating’ America. But others in Congress are joining her in declaring that the president is the real danger to the country.
As a foreign correspondent, I watched Bosnia self-destruct based on toxic propaganda. I saw the same forces at work yesterday in Washington.
If you still believed in American exceptionalism, the assault on the U.S. Capitol was a jarring wakeup call. But as other divided nations learned long ago, this is what happens when politicians and media feed citizens a steady diet of lies.
‘I can’t believe this is happening to our country’: Minnesota immigrants watch with alarm as Trump insurrectionists attack U.S. Capitol.
They saw wars and coups in their home countries. America was supposed to be better than this, but immigrants see worrying similarities.
Minnesota media consultant, right-wing bloggers question Somali flag raising at Dolal Idd protest
Blois Olson, prominent local public relations strategist, later apologizes over gas station flag-protocol fuss.
Personal care assistants get $14 an hour in Minnesota to help people with disabilities. COVID-19 is making their jobs impossible.
Though 150,000 people are enrolled with the state as PCAs, only about 43,000 work in the field. A new state union contract could make the job competitive: ‘If McDonald’s is going to pay $15, they’re going to leave me,’ one caregiver/employer says.
‘Time to uproot systemic racism’: Case of Dolal Idd highlights disparities in fatal police shootings
Somali Americans live at the intersection of two criminalized identities, Black and Muslim, that often define their interactions with police.
Superfan and inventor of “Whacker Clapper” remembered for dedication to family—and sports.
John Castillo, most known for inventing a loud cheering device used at Timberwolves games, died of COVID-19 in September.
Police informant and dangerous gun bust led to fatal shooting of Dolal Idd, according to newly released search warrant.
Activists and legal experts question police conduct in the police stop and the late-night home raid that followed.
‘We will not wake up tomorrow and forget about this’: Minneapolis protesters demand answers about police killing of Dolal Idd
March is led by young people, who insist they will stay engaged in the issue because far too many young men and women are dying.
Bound wrists, crying kids, and an older man without a shirt: Politicians, activists condemn body-cam footage of sheriff’s raid on Somali family’s home.
After watching footage of the 2 a.m. raid in Eden Prairie, State Representative Hodan Hassan says, “I don’t see professionalism. I don’t see any respect for the family. I don’t see cultural sensitivity. And I don’t see compassion.”
Police raided the home of an older Somali couple, bound their wrists, and yelled at their small children. Then the police told them their son was shot dead.
Bayle Adod Gelle, a father of 11, described a harrowing police raid at the family home in Eden Prairie. It ended when officers informed him his 23-year-old son, Dolal Idd, had been fatally shot by police at a gas station in south Minneapolis.
Looking back at 2020: Read Sahan Journal’s best journalism about a tough year.
From COVID-19 to the killing of George Floyd, Sahan Journal’s reporters chronicled some of the biggest stories of 2020.
New Minnesota COVID-19 hotline for immigrants and refugees answers questions in 13 languages.
Launched by the Refugee Resettlement Network, the hotline offers guidance on health care, vaccines, food assistance, housing support. The new service joins other Minnesota COVID-19 hotlines for Latino, Karen, and African communities.
Power cannot be obtained through violence in Ethiopia. Now is the time for dialogue.
The refugee emergency in the Tigray region is the latest crisis on the road to reform. Ethiopians in Minnesota have a role to play in changing the country’s direction.
These doctors from immigrant families are some of the first Minnesotans to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s what they want the rest of us to know.
Skeptical? Concerned about side effects? Prefer to wait a little longer? That’s how these doctors felt, too. Here’s why they got the vaccine anyway.
Death of Albasha Hume leaves void at St. Paul clinic and New Brighton Seventh Day Adventist community
Pastor and men’s health specialist Albasha Hume was remembered for destigmatizing men’s health issues.
Trump administration stymies immigrants with longer, more expensive citizenship test.
The new naturalization application doubles the test and raises the cost from $640 to $1,160. Two out of three lifelong Americans couldn’t pass the older, easier test.
St. Paul Public Schools data show the devastating effect of pandemic and distance learning on students of color.
More than 40 percent of grades registered for Hispanic, Black, and American Indian secondary students in the first quarter were F’s. Minneapolis data show a similar, but less extreme, trend.
Brooklyn Park pastor who died of COVID-19 remembered as a caring mother and healthcare worker.
Larrydean Goodridge served as a mother figure to children other than her own—despite being separated from her daughter for almost six years.
A once-in-a-lifetime chance for Liberian immigrants has been “hamstrung” by COVID — and Trump’s dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy
Last year, Congress quietly passed a bill allowing thousands of Liberian immigrants to apply for green cards. But the Trump administration hardly made it easy, and now the application window is closing.
A Minneapolis cop told Somali American teens he was proud U.S. troops killed ‘you folk’ during Black Hawk Down. The police union fought to keep his job anyway.
The officer’s words—described as volatile, prejudiced, and horrific—remained a secret for five years. They highlight the Minneapolis Police Department’s troubled relationship with people of color, and especially the Somali community.
Grandchildren remember Elie Farhat as a quiet family man, former banker in Lebanon.
Elie Farhat grew up as an orphan in Lebanon. In Northeast Minneapolis, family came first.
‘We need our own people to provide us with information:’ With COVID-19 hitting East St. Paul Somali community hard, a local nonprofit presses for awareness and testing.
Door-knocking campaign organized by Horn of Africa Community of USA leads to three days of testing this month at a neighborhood school.
Direct checks, grants, county aid programs and unemployment benefits: A guide to Minnesota’s new emergency COVID-19 package.
State officials see the program passed Monday as a stopgap measure until a new federal aid package is approved.
Nausheena Hussain cast one of Minnesota’s presidential votes for Biden. As she performed her electoral duty, she brought a special Qur’an and inspired her community.
Nausheena Hussain never really thought about the Electoral College, one of the stranger aspects of the American presidential elections, until 2016. This year, when the opportunity opened up, she decided to pursue it to learn more about the process—and show others how it works
After the rush to develop a COVID vaccine, a big, new challenge: Getting people to take it.
Many immigrants and refugees are likely to be skeptical. Experts say listening closely, relying on community leaders, and maybe incentives will help.
Minnesota’s first generation students are working three jobs, supporting their families—and figuring out how to apply for college during a pandemic.
Three friends from St. Paul have their eyes set on the University of Minnesota. But navigating the application process—college counseling, savings, and all those financial aid forms—is harder than ever.
Beauty in the time of pandemic: After a year of planning, Ritual Med Spa found itself opening up at a time when ‘people couldn’t pay the rent.’
New venture is testing entrepreneur Sagal Abdi’s business skills. So far, it’s okay.
African immigrants to the U.S. have a lot in common. National conference organized by St. Paul-based group seeks to pull it all together.
African Economic Development Solutions conference will focus on leadership, empowerment and community resilience.
COVID-19 outbreak at Kandiyohi County Jail threatens health of detained immigrants.
Advocates worry about quickening spread of COVID-19 in a Minnesota ICE facility.
Midwestern filmmaker explores Middle Eastern identity through country western music
Moheb Soliman’s video short will stream as one of 60 films in this week’s Arab Film Fest Collab
Hamse Warfa has lived the immigrant experience. Now in charge of Minnesota’s employment and training programs, he’s intent on building bridges for those left behind.
The state’s highest-ranking Somali American official wants to tackle systemic disparities that are holding back communities of color. But first, there’s a pandemic to get through.
University of Minnesota hosts new nationwide COVID-19 initiative to reach immigrants and refugees.
The National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants will draw funds from a CDC grant. Goals include studying best practices for vaccine communication and medical training.
As a teen, J.P. Der Boghossian didn’t know any queer Armenians. Finally, in his 30s, he found them in books—and started his own library.
The Queer Armenian Library collects literature, film, music, and art—and breaks a long cultural silence
Protecting the living while serving the dead, Hmong funerals adapt to COVID-19 times
Multi-day ceremonies can draw hundreds for traditional rituals filled with feasting and song. To prevent coronavirus spread, community leaders and Minnesota health authorities have adopted streamlined funeral rites.
COVID-19 claims life of Hmong American leader and Secret War veteran.
Tou-Fu Vang is remembered not only for his wartime service but in helping refugees resettle the United States.
‘We’re not settling for breadcrumbs’: Biden has promised to restore the DACA immigration program. Some of Minnesota’s 5,000-plus Dreamers want more.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program narrowly survived Donald Trump. But Joe Biden’s pledge to shore up the program won’t satisfy immigrants who want a wider pathway to citizenship for undocumented Minnesotans.
Sahan Journal is hiring a multimedia producer to join its newsroom
Come help us invent the kind of diverse media nonprofit that the news industry needs!
A handful of immigrants walk into a Twin Cities comedy club. Giggles–and maybe a little uncomfortable squirming–ensue.
With Yemeni-born Ali Sultan as a role model and mentor, immigrant comedians are making names for themselves in the local stand-up scene. The key to being funny, they say, is being true to yourself.
In a year of pain, recalling the excitement of past Hmong New Year festivals. And preparing for better times ahead.
There will be no public pageantry, no costumes and no vendors at the end of this year of pandemic. Hmong families look back at what they’ll miss most about the annual celebration, and explain how they’ll mark the event at home.
The ultimate 2020 Thanksgiving menu is a turkey sambusa with cranberry dip, delivered free to our health care workers
We Nurish, the Minneapolis food nonprofit, will prepare 1,000 free meals for hospital workers. Over the river and through the woods, to Abbott Northwestern we go!
Getting Hmong men to open up about something many would rather not discuss: A culture of ‘toxic masculinity’
When Sheeso Moua met Mai Thao, he thought she might help develop his line of men’s apparel. But she challenged him to think bigger, and they ended up launching the Hmong Men Talk Podcast.
COVID-19 is devastating Minnesota’s Latino communities. Here’s what that looks like for one family.
Emilia Gonzalez Avalos, executive director of Unidos MN, spends her days watching her father in his ICU bed through an iPad. “During the weekend we thought he wasn’t going to make it,” she said.
What you need to know about Muslim prayer apps and data privacy
The creator of Muslim Directory explains what happened at Muslim Pro and how to know what apps you can trust.
Northfield has long called itself the town of ‘cows, colleges, and contentment.’ After Election Day, it’s becoming something else: a model for rising Latino power in rural Minnesota.
“We all belong the same way in this community”: Mexican Americans won seats for the first time on the Northfield school board and city council.
Fighting disinformation, Facebook decides it doesn’t ‘like’ Twin Cities companies that support refugees and clean-water projects
Mohamed Malim was a refugee himself. He wants to use his business to help others. But Facebook’s new ad policy is hurting him at the worst possible time.
Access to medicine, food and supportive care: A clinic serving immigrant communities focuses on keys to getting people through the COVID-19 surge.
Elsewhere, nightlife and informal gatherings spread the virus. For patients at a Ventura Village clinic, it’s crowded living conditions and the workplace.
Somali health activist uses public storytelling to address private health problems
“We don’t have open communication with our youth”: Abdurrahman Mahmud and Mixed Blood Theatre use traditional communication to break down the stigma around mental health, sexual health, and substance abuse.
Minnesota’s 2020 Teacher of the Year read her class a picture book to help them understand the George Floyd killing. Minnesota’s largest police association didn’t like it.
Students, parents, and educators rallied behind Qorsho Hassan, and her dedication to teaching about racism. As for her south metro school district? They’re looking into it.
Uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 forces new restrictions on Minnesota restaurants, bars, gyms
Governor Tim Walz rolls out new curbs Wednesday aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19, including limiting bars and restaurants to takeout-only. Gyms and fitness centers will also be closed.
Excerpt: Sisters on the Other Side of the River, from ‘Somewhere in the Unknown World: A Collective Refugee Memoir’
The latest book from St. Paul author Kao Kalia Yang shares the stories of her friends and family from Laos, Liberia , Bosnia, and Syria—and how their life journeys brought them to Minnesota.
Remembering Abdulkadir Mohamed Mursal, a giant figure in modern Somali journalism, who died this fall from COVID-19
A political cartoonist and radio technician, Abdulkadir Mohamed Mursal established radio stations and mentored journalists across East Africa, North America, and Europe.
In just four years, Trump destroyed refugee admissions to Minnesota. Can a Biden administration open the doors again?
‘‘It’s not just numbers of people. It’s somebody’s mom or somebody’s children”: Refugees and advocates describe the damage of the Trump years—and their hopes for families in Minnesota.
The temple is empty, the Zoom room is full: Minnesota Hindus light up the dark days of COVID-19 with Diwali celebrations at home
Minnesota’s 50,000 Hindus pull back from huge Diwali celebrations at a community temple in Maple Grove; holding a “huge family call” instead.
Minnesota Latinos ask for timely coronavirus information in Spanish—then get referrals to Google Translate.
Minnesota Spanish speakers looking for the latest public health data on COVID-19 infections say they’ve been calling friends for translations.
Somali American educator Ibrahim Mohamed brings diversity to school board as Shakopee’s first Black member
An immigrant from Somalia, Ibrahim brings training in accounting and school psychology to a school district under budget stress.
‘People with disabilities aren’t told they can be leaders’: Disability rights advocate and parks board leader wins city council seat in Maplewood
Nikki Villavicencio organized to help Minnesotans with disabilities get involved with political door-knocking. She just door-knocked for her own city council campaign—and won.
Meet the Latina and Hmong candidates who won school-board seats in Minnesota’s three biggest cities.
Jim Vue, Jess Garcia, and Adriana Cerrillo promise to prioritize the needs of underrepresented families in St. Paul, Rochester, and Minneapolis.
Oballa Oballa, a refugee from Ethiopia, wins historic city council election in Austin; becomes city’s first Black elected official.
Soon after moving to Austin, Minnesota, Oballa Oballa walked into the mayor’s office and asked if there was anything he could do for the city. He just became Austin’s first Black city council member.
Abdullahi Abdulle becomes the first Somali elected to New Brighton City Council
The suburb’s first Black and first Muslim council member will focus on public safety, affordable housing, and access to services.
Community connector. Humanitarian of the year. Now Amáda Márquez Simula will become Minnesota’s second Latina mayor.
Community super-volunteer—and newly elected mayor—Amáda Márquez Simula wants everyone to feel welcome in Columbia Heights. And she means EVERYONE.
Amir Malik knocked on a lot of doors and emphasized bread-and-butter issues in an increasingly purple Blaine district. It wasn’t enough.
The Republican incumbent in the Minnesota House had a history of racist comments. Malik energized Muslim voters and reached out to other immigrant groups. He lost, anyhow.
Unprecedented numbers of immigrants and new American candidates appeared on the ballot yesterday in Minnesota. Here are their election 2020 results.
We’re following races across the Cities, the suburbs, and the state. Check in here for updates.
We asked immigrant voters in Minnesota what they hope happens on Election Day—and what outcome they fear most.
After an election squeaker in 2016, new voters from Minnesota’s immigrant communities may determine the outcome in the 2020 presidential race. How do they feel going into Election Day? We asked.
Latinos could make up America’s largest voting group of color. Organizers in Minnesota have invested hugely to make it happen in 2020.
Groups like Unidos and COPAL have spent months trying to drive Latino voters to the polls in Minnesota. Why vote this time? “Many of our lives depend on it.”
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The pandemic and political atmosphere are making life tough. Voting is still safe and easy.
Minnesota Secretary of State says there are a few new wrinkles, but they shouldn’t stop immigrants from voting.
They’re young. Their families are immigrants. And they’re really eager to cast their first vote for president.
Youthful voters from Minnesota immigrant families cite concerns including immigration, the pandemic, health care, race relations, and climate change.
Commentary: Trump’s anti-refugee policies are a betrayal of American values
Immigration is on the ballot again this Election Day. Here’s the case for how refugees benefit the nation’s workforce and communities.
‘We have suddenly seen ourselves as Americans’: Minnesota immigrants are finding a place in the suburbs–and elected office.
In Minnesota, more first- and second-generation immigrants aren’t just voting this year. They’re running for local and state office.
Never so much engagement. Never so much division. Hmong voters are becoming a new swing constituency.
They have been solidly in the DFL camp, but both major parties are now making major efforts to attract the growing and increasingly diverse Hmong vote.
‘Power is the number of voters you have’: Minnesota’s growing Muslim population expands political reach through organizing, activism—and winning.
‘No more sambusa diplomacy’: Muslim political organizers want real political participation—not just friendly mosque visits with the old political establishment.
Nativists in St. Cloud have told refugees they’re not welcome. One refugee wants to teach them a better greeting: ‘See tahay?’—‘How are you?,’ in Somali.
Farhiya Iman encountered racism through her teens. Now she teaches classes on Somali language, food, and culture—and they’re full.
When medical interpretation for immigrant patients goes remote, what gets lost in translation?
COVID-19 safety concerns and cost pressures have driven medical interpretation from the doctor’s office to the computer or the phone. Some Minnesota interpreters say that the job of helping patients get competent care now feels “more like a call center.”
Paula Vasquez Alzate never stopped dancing as a child in Medellin, Colombia. The coronavirus pandemic couldn’t stop her, either.
Black Label Movement and dancer Paula Vasquez Alzate found a way to rehearse without spreading coronavirus. Go into a bubble for three week—and finally take off the masks.
An immigrant’s tale of loneliness, some mistakes, and a lot of perseverance
Dido Kotile, a Kenyan immigrant and director of a St. Paul charter school, uses his first novel to explore experiences many newcomers share.
In the race for a southwest Minneapolis school board seat, candidates share competing visions for making schools equitable during—and after—the pandemic
Sahan Journal asked District 4 school board candidates Adriana Cerrillo and Christa Mims about distance learning, internet access, racial equity, and student success during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sahan Journal wins national award for its reporting on Minnesota’s immigrant and refugee communities.
Sahan Journal has been selected as the winner of this year’s “Local That Works” contest, which recognizes innovative and creative local journalism produced by public and nonprofit media organizations.
‘L-O-S-E-R’: Filmmaker Sujata Day looks into the life of a not-so-successful spelling bee champion.
Others might be building robots or trying to cure COVID-19. In a movie scheduled for the Twin Cities Film Fest, Day’s character is caring for her mom and doing paint-by-numbers.
North Minneapolis school board candidates talk about running the schools through COVID-19—and what comes after.
Sahan Journal asked District 2 school board candidates Sharon El-Amin and KerryJo Felder about distance learning, internet access, racial equity, and student success during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are their answers.
‘I’m not alone’: Minnesota students of color lead movement for equity in schools
The killing of George Floyd inspired high school students from Somali, Latino, Indian American, and Korean American backgrounds to push their suburban schools to prioritize racial equity.
Sahan Journal selected to join Facebook project supporting local news led by journalists of color
Twenty newsrooms will receive training on building a sustainable media business through Facebook Journalism Project’s Sustainability Accelerator Program.
Cast your vote: Which candidate should you support for the Minneapolis school board at-large seat?
We asked incumbent Kim Ellison and challenger Michael Dueñes how the schools can best serve students during the coronavirus pandemic—and after they get back in the building.
‘So many stories I didn’t know’: Kao Kalia Yang started out writing her family’s refugee memoir. Now she’s sharing the journeys of others.
The Minnesota author’s new book, “Somewhere in the Unknown World,” began when she collected her uncle’s story about fleeing Laos. Then she spoke to a Liberian hospital worker, a Karen parent from school, a Jewish singer from Ukraine—and created “a collective refugee memoir.”
Asian American leaders in Minnesota condemn racism related to COVID-19
Trump terms like “Wuhan virus” and “kung flu” contribue to an increase in hate crimes, discrimination.
A ‘mother figure’ not only for Hmong children, but students from all of Brooklyn Park’s immigrant communities
Choua Lee Yang, who taught students to celebrate their immigrant cultures at Prairie Seeds Academy, dies of COVID-19 at 53.