Mohamed Amin Ahmed hired an Indian animator to illustrate stories of his Muslim faith, with a bit of South Park mixed in. The result: An honor from the U.S. State Department.
Registering to vote in Minnesota couldn’t be easier — unless you can’t read and write in English.
Registering online to vote and get an absentee ballot in Minnesota is as easy as your English language skills are strong. And if they aren’t, the online process can be a frustrating experience that advocates worry is keeping eligible Minnesotans from voting this fall.
What’s it like to run for city council during the pandemic? An Ethiopian-born candidate is trying to meet voters in Austin, Minnesota—without door-knocking or shaking hands.
Oballa Oballa fled violence in Ethiopia to make a new life in Minnesota. Now he wants to create opportunities for everyone, “despite their race, religion, and language.”
Immigrants to Minnesota know about instability and political violence. Many recognize familiar signs in their adopted homeland.
Most say U.S. traditions and institutions are much stronger than in their native lands. The question is whether they are strong enough to survive the 2020 election.
New exhibit brings Minnesota’s Iraqi Americans to life: A rich portrait of regions, religions, and professions
Pictures also help illuminate the life of photographer Jaafar Alnabi, an Iraqi immigrant to Minneapolis.
After cultural clashes at a food plant in Moorhead, Somali workers and management talked their way to an understanding. We asked them how they did it.
In September, almost a dozen Somali workers complained about discrimination on the job. Business owner Tom Jacobson and mediator Cani Adan figured out how to get back to work. But first they had to talk—and listen.
Omar Jamal earns $43,000 a year to communicate with the community on behalf of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
In response to Sahan Journal’s public records request, Sheriff Bob Fletcher’s Office disclosed Omar Jamal’s salary, job title, and duties.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher won’t tell the public what Omar Jamal does for his office.
Omar Jamal and Bob Fletcher have a professional relationship that dates back nearly a decade. After Omar Jamal alleged voter fraud to a right-wing media outfit, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office claimed he was speaking for himself.
Leader in Minnesota’s Karen community dies from COVID-19 complications
An early arrival from Myanmar, Saw helped new immigrants and advocated for peace back home.
A former refugee from Liberia running for the Minnesota Legislature teaches the Constitution, supports gun rights, and wants immigration restrictions.
‘People can come here and literally become anything they want to be.’ Alexander Buster Deputie makes the case for conservative values in a Minnesota state senate race.
‘You cannot stop our vote.’ Minnesota faith leaders say efforts to discourage Muslim voters will fail.
Despite attacks from President Trump and right-wing activists, Minnesota’s Somali community has a plan to turn out the vote.
‘You can see the disrespect’: Workers at Amazon center in Minnesota walk out, claiming rushed work conditions, unjust firing.
Workers protest for the second time this year at Amazon’s Shakopee facility. The firing of a coworker triggers Thursday-night job action and picket.
Omar Jamal, key source of Project Veritas election fraud video, backtracks on cash-for-ballots allegation.
In a Wednesday interview with Somali American TV, Omar Jamal contradicted claims he made in a sting video for right-wing media outfit Project Veritas. The videos have become fodder for Trump’s attacks on the election process.
Trailing in the state’s polls, Trump returns to Minnesota for a campaign stop filled with racist taunts and anti-immigrant agenda.
Somali American politicians respond to Trump’s attacks on refugees with embrace of voting, Minnesota, and the democratic process.
GoFundMe to investigate Omar Jamal’s Project Veritas-backed fundraiser for phony insider.
GoFundMe told the Daily Dot that the fundraising company’s “Trust & Safety team” is currently investigating the fundraising page in Omar Jamal’s name.
How did an August primary election in Minneapolis turn into a national right-wing disinformation campaign against absentee ballots?
A right-wing conspiracy outfit partners with a man of questionable reputation in the Somali community to allege “ballot harvesting fraud” in Minnesota.
Longer hours and less face time: Overextended teachers try to preserve a human connection in an era of distance learning
It’s better than it was in spring, but teachers from immigrant communities still have a ‘million and one’ worries about online and hybrid learning.
For women used to a life of work and obligations, a chance to find their inner ‘Happy Girl’
Many older Hmong women never had time to do something just for fun. Ae Xiong wants them to join her making colorful earrings
Cedar–Riverside has faced the COVID-19 crisis with limited clinic options. A newly reopened Health Commons promises expanded care.
M Health Fairview site will include a full-time nurse, a virtual appointment kiosk, free flu shots, and expanded mental health and addiction treatment.
Sahan Journal selected as a finalist for two national journalism awards
Since its founding, Sahan has emerged as an innovator in the field of digital nonprofit journalism, with strong community support, and a young, diverse readership.
Who are the friends and family members we’ve lost to COVID-19 from Minnesota’s immigrant communities? Help us tell their stories.
Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Sahan Journal wants to memorialize Minnesota’s new Americans. Here’s how you can help.
‘Change is coming’: A St. Paul program is building a pipeline from diverse communities to the state Capitol to tackle racial disparities.
After politicians of color win election to the statehouse, they still have work to do claiming power in an unwelcoming institution.
The world’s first and only Hmong plastic surgeon helps his patients to reconstruct their lives. As a young refugee from Laos, David Thao started with himself.
Growing up, David Thao translated doctor’s appointments for Hmong elders. Now, as a founder of the Hmong Medical Association, he speaks for the community—and for himself.
Count on it: Election Day voting in Minnesota starts now
Early and absentee balloting opens Friday in Minnesota, one of the first states in the country where voters can show their enthusiasm or just get their role in the election over with.
Trump administration can deport some immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sudan, and Haiti, appeals court rules.
‘I don’t want to leave my children or my grandchildren behind’: Longtime immigrants in Minnesota could be sent back; decision could affect more than 200,000 people nationally.
Family of bullied Muslim teen sues Minnesota school district, two years after his suicide.
Faith Elsharkawy says Chisago Lakes Middle School failed to protect her son from repeated attacks by classmates. Instead, her lawsuit says, the school disciplined her son inappropriately for his ADHD and anxiety attacks.
ICE deportation looms for Minnesota Somalis who may be infected with COVID-19.
Representative Ilhan Omar demands ICE account for risk of pandemic to Somalia, given scarcity of medical care.
The cost of worshiping at one Minnesota mosque? A firebombing, a Confederate flag, an assault, and a blogger who films Muslim children.
Dar Al Farooq sought federal grants to protect the mosque and school from threats and harassment. The money didn’t come until an assault near the building landed an imam in the hospital.
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It takes a big, colorful mural to capture all the pride in St. Paul’s West Side
Artists Ernesto Ybarra and Xilam Balam are putting a new face on Ybarra’s old neighborhood—actually, dozens of faces.
When ‘do no harm’ means doing more: University of Minnesota residents press medical school to take tougher action against racism.
Letter from more than 150 Minnesota residents says school needs to take broad measures after defacing of George Floyd memorial by one-time student.
The census isn’t just about numbers. It’s about school programs, job training, health care, and housing, too.
With time running out, census workers in Minnesota try to improve on low response rates in immigrant communities.
Mastering the mute button, treating nosebleeds over Zoom, Minneapolis students and teachers go back to school—at home.
“The teachers knew what they were doing”: Last spring gave Minnesota schools a crash course in remote learning. This fall, students and teachers did their homework.
Michael and Brian Vang started out playing soccer with their sisters and their father on St. Paul’s Hmong East Side. They just made the pro leagues together.
They battled in tryouts and in youth soccer academies, where no one else was Hmong. Ultimately, Brian and Michael Vang made it through their talent, their hard work–and their refusal to give up.
Minnesota school districts say they want to fill classrooms with talented teachers of color. Then they lay them off.
Qorsho Hassan became Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year shortly after Burnsville schools laid her off. The superintendent, school board chair, and teachers union all claim they wish they could keep teachers like her in the classroom. So why didn’t they?
Mustafa Jumale came to the U.S. at age three as a refugee from Somalia. Now he’ll help lead a national advocacy group supporting refugees.
Mustafa says Voice for Refuge will advance pro-refugee positions in politics, build on his work fighting Trump travel ban.
COVID-19 is a danger in any language. Minnesota is trying to share information in as many of them as possible.
Communities of color are particularly at risk. The effort to reach them includes free testing, informal chats at the laundromat, broadcasts—and a lot more.
U.S. Senators demand legal rights for Oromo men detained in Ethiopia. Family members in Minnesota worry and wait for charges.
Misha Chiri and Jawar Mohammed, two well-known former Minnesota residents from the Oromo community, were detained in Addis Ababa following the killing of singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa.
Some women business owners say they’ve felt neglected by the Minnesota Hmong Chamber of Commerce. Yao Yang is determined to change that.
Yao Yang wants to make the Hmong Chamber of Commerce better reflect a rapidly evolving business community
Young, educated and Black: Here’s how Minnesota’s politicians with African roots are reshaping the state’s politics.
Fifty years ago, lawmakers in Washington opened the doors to immigrants from Africa. Today, dozens of new Americans — from Liberia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, and more — are running for office in Minnesota. And they’re winning.
Cameroonian American combats COVID-19 back home by building software in Minnesota.
When the Cameroonian government called Yves Zouzouambe in Minnesota, he recruited a software team on three different continents.
George Floyd, Jacob Blake and the latest outburst of anger in Minneapolis: Looking for the connection.
Researcher says that while facts are emerging, marginalized groups “fill in the blanks” based on historical context.
‘Stop killing Black people’: Concerned about Black lives, worried about their jobs, immigrant workers find themselves caught in the middle of Minneapolis unrest.
When the City of Minneapolis declared a curfew Wednesday night, immigrant workers struggled to get home safely. Now they’re worried about the security of their jobs—and the Black community.
A University of Minnesota medical student apparently vandalized the George Floyd memorial. His health care classmates want him expelled.
“Complete and utter outrage”: In a protest on campus, medical students, doctors and nurses said the incident aggravated systemic racism in health care.
Surprised that political newcomer Esther Agbaje unseated a longtime DFL legislator? Her childhood friends aren’t.
The daughter of Nigerian immigrants—an Episcopal priest and a librarian—knew years ago that she would run for office one day. But this is earlier than even she thought.
The Minnesota GOP has a problem winning voters of color and new Americans. Could Republican Party chair Jennifer Carnahan offer a solution?
“I’m an American and I’m a Minnesotan, just like every other person in our party”: GOP chair Jennifer Carnahan challenges preconceptions about race, opportunity for women, and winning it all in 2020.
‘How many people have to die for our bosses and government to step up?’: Minneapolis union vigil marks the death of another immigrant frontline worker.
Union official says janitors, security guards, and other immigrant workers report infection rates three times higher than the rest of Minnesota.
2020 Toyota Highlander. Customized gold necklaces. Free trip to Mecca: Minnesota’s best Qur’an memorizers get top prizes at contest.
Competitions to recite Qur’anic passages are popular in the Muslim world, but organizers think Bloomington youth event was the only one in 2020.
Should kids go back to the classroom during the pandemic? We asked them. And their answers surprised us.
“Summer vacation with a little homework”: Last year Minnesota kids learned what it’s like not to go to school. Will they repeat that lesson this fall?
Decades before Oromo protesters started marching in Minnesota, Hangasu Waqo Lugo fought for freedom in Ethiopia. A new book finally tells his forgotten story.
History has ignored and dismissed the dramatic Bale Oromo uprising in Ethiopia. Oromo Witness, a new first-hand account by an Oromo Minnesotan author, rewrites the story.
Sunday Mass is on YouTube and COVID-19 testing is free: Minneapolis–St. Paul Catholic archdiocese adapts in an age of pandemic
Clergy say the church is emphasizing the safety of vulnerable immigrant communities.
Thousands of new Minnesotans could vote for the first time in the 2020 election. But the feds haven’t processed their citizenship applications.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the U.S. immigration system. Wait times have increased to as long as 25 months in Minnesota, and many of those who thought they had plenty of time are now hoping for a miracle.
‘I opened a business. I’m hiring. I’m paying taxes’: Minnesota immigrants say Trump’s Mankato campaign comments don’t match what they’re seeing in their community.
Immigrants in Mankato, Minnesota, like to talk about the value they place on education, work, entrepreneurship, and community. President Trump might want to meet them.
A Somali American man is suing the feds for blocking his gun purchase. Is it a case of mistaken identity?
In a recent lawsuit, Mohamed Warsame argues the government has arbitrarily violated his Second Amendment rights.
In a campaign stop, Trump asked immigrant business owners to air their grievances about the unrest in Minneapolis. Here are the Lake Street store owners he missed.
Immigrants invested their savings and their talents to build businesses on Lake Street. And then many of them lost almost everything. In their own words, they talk about how they’re trying to reopen—and rebuild.
In the August primary, diverse millennial candidates in Minneapolis drove new voters to the polls. What lesson will the DFL take into November?
For years, the Minnesota DFL has been talking about immigrants and people of color as the future of the party. With last week’s record primary turnout, that future is here.
Is St. Cloud ready for a change? Hassan Yussuf thinks Minnesota city will elect its first Black city council member.
Somali American is in the running for a council seat in November. His supporters say St. Cloud is tired of its divisive, anti-immigrant politics.
‘You’re not a guest here, and you deserve better’: Jamal Osman’s message to immigrant communities helps capture Minneapolis Ward 6 City Council seat.
Longtime housing advocate wins lively 11-candidate race in ward facing homelessness and a lack of affordable housing.
Housing advocate Jamal Osman defeats ten candidates in Minneapolis Ward 6 race.
Minneapolis City Council Ward 6 has lacked a representative throughout the George Floyd protests and the coronavirus pandemic. After three days, election officials finally announced Jamal’s win.
Filmmaker Naomi Ko thinks ‘representation’ in Hollywood needs to mean more than movies about ‘rich East Asians’
’We grew up speaking in code—that’s Minnesota Nice’: After a pandemic retreat from L.A. to her parents’ house in Savage, Naomi Ko talks about why George Floyd (unfortunately) didn’t surprise her and what’s better about Asian stories from the Midwest
A year ago, we created Sahan Journal to cover news about immigrants and refugees. How did that turn out? We’re glad you asked.
When we launched this nonprofit news site 12 months ago, we hoped we’d find readers, subscribers and donors. The experience so far has exceeded all of our hopes. We hope you’ll join us for what comes next.
Progressive challenger Omar Fateh defeats longtime State Senator Jeff Hayden in Minnesota’s Democratic primary
After easily claiming the DFL endorsement, Omar Fateh turned activist support into a primary win against DFL powerbroker Jeff Hayden.
‘Ready for a new generation’: With election night lead, Esther Agbaje hopes to bring ‘sense of urgency’ to the Capitol
Agbaje, a 35-year-old lawyer and daughter of Nigerian immigrants, seemed poised to beat DFL veteran Raymond Dehn for a Minnesota House seat representing downtown and North Minneapolis.
Another win for the Squad: Progressive champion Ilhan Omar beats well-funded challenger Antone Melton-Meaux.
After all the dueling endorsements and outside campaign contributions, the voters picked Ilhan by a wide margin.
A Tibetan scarf, a Khmer video, exploding the ‘model minority’ myth: how Minnesota’s Asian communities are reckoning George Floyd’s death
Tibetan, Cambodian, Hmong, and Japanese Americans all have their own struggles for justice. But they say Black Lives Matter is their cause, too.
An attack on an imam fractured his shoulder and terrified the Muslim community in Bloomington.
The imam’s family found his shoes, glasses and hat after two assailants broke his shoulder. The attack is one of several incidents targeting the mosque.
Minnesota is helping malls that serve immigrant communities survive the COVID-19 downturn. How much aid will their tenants see?
Struggling merchants wonder whether state grants will benefit them.
The Vang family traveled from Laos to France to Minnesota to Florida to Nevada…in order to start a perfect French bakery—in Maplewood.
A father-son team is opening a new French-American-Hmong bakery to make the kind of classic baguettes you can only get at home. Wherever that is.
Somali American educator Qorsho Hassan wins Minnesota Teacher of the Year award
Qorsho, the first Somali American educator to receive the prestigious honor, was selected out of 134 nominees. The principal at Gideon Pond Elementary School in Burnsville, where Qorsho taught fifth grade the last two years, described her as a “game-changing educator.”
Ilhan Omar wants to rewrite U.S. immigration policy—if she can win the DFL primary first.
Ilhan Omar, the only refugee in Congress, talks to Sahan Journal about putting immigration at the front of her agenda—and why some people want her out of office.
‘Mexicans don’t want to call the police,’ alleged burglars say. The result in one Minnesota suburb? Twenty apartment break-ins targeting immigrants.
Immigrants often hesitate to report when they’re victims of crimes, fearing questions about their immigration status. A crime spree in Brooklyn Park shows the consequences—and how police can win back trust.
Governor Tim Walz visits Somali mall in Minneapolis and declares commitment to help businesses. Some ask if commitment is enough.
“It is important for the governor to show they’re not forgetting us”: East African business owners call for help amid an economic crisis.
Is Cup Foods reopening too soon after George Floyd’s killing? Or is it time to get back to business?
Protesters say the community hasn’t had enough time to heal. Cup Foods owners say the focus should be on punishing those who killed him.
‘Umbrella Man’ blocked a Cambodian photojournalist’s camera. By chance, he still got footage.
Dymanh Chhoun has filmed plenty of Minneapolis protests. This time, he was eye-to-eye with an alleged white supremacist.
Two Somali sisters stopped to photograph a wild turkey in Minnesota. Instead, a white man filmed them and allegedly threatened violence.
Somali woman says facing discrimination is “nothing new.” But getting harassed and allegedly attacked for birdwatching on a suburban street?
A goat, a knife, a sacrifice: Some Muslims in Minnesota celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday with ritual slaughter.
You could celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday with lamb from the halal butcher. Or you could drive to a farm in Minnesota, borrow a sharp knife and perform the ritual slaughter yourself.
A Somali health advocate’s crusade against skin lightening, a vestige of colonialism, becomes a federal public health issue
Amira Adawe, executive director of the BeautyWell Project, has been working on the issue for a decade. She said getting the federal government involved is a giant step toward curbing use of the products.
We crammed Governor Tim Walz’s entire COVID-19 back-to-school plan into one cheat sheet. (The test comes this fall.)
Walz’s education announcement was full of detail and data–but no clear direction for parents. Here’s everything you need to know for your family.
A Muslim woman told anyone who would listen about her run-in with white supremacists in Minnesota. One of them? Allegedly ‘Umbrella Man.’
You know who wasn’t surprised to learn “Umbrella Man” allegedly belongs to the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood? The Muslim woman his biker gang harassed last month on Main Street.
Coughing, chest pains? Immigration detainees say they still can’t get a COVID-19 test in one Minnesota jail.
“They said if I kept being sick, I’d be locked up all the time”: Minnesota has the capacity to give 20,000 coronavirus tests a day. But immigrants detained at one ICE jail say they can’t get tested.
‘I can’t teach if I’m dead’: Minnesota teachers of color say distance learning is best option for fall
Many immigrant families came to the United States for an education. But they say safety is more important.
In their own words: Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District voters have opinions about the race between Ilhan Omar and Antone Melton-Meaux
Ilhan Omar and Antone Melton-Meaux have raised $6 million to dump on one of the knottiest primary races in state history. We’re sharing the opinions of their most prominent supporters for free.
Everything you need to know about Minnesota’s new coronavirus face mask rule
Yes, you could be fined for not wearing a mask. Yes, you still can eat at a restaurant. No, it doesn’t apply to kids ages 5 and under.
‘The cash is piling up’: Hawala money transfers provide a financial lifeline for thousands of families. What stopped the money flow from Minnesota to Somalia?
COVID-19 has disrupted the international money-wiring system called hawalas. And U.S. banks won’t do business with them. The result, one Minnesota hawala operator says: His customers often can’t send money to families around the world.
Minnesota’s health department wants to reveal your positive COVID-19 test results to first responders—including immigration officials. What could go wrong?
An April order from Governor Tim Walz allows contact tracers to share coronavirus information with emergency responders. Immigration activists want the rule changed to protect privacy.
Minnesota governor orders people to wear masks in restaurants, stores and most indoor spaces.
Governor Tim Walz’s order will require Minnesotans to wear masks in restaurants, stores and other public indoor gathering spaces, starting Saturday.
Hungry kids, empty fridge? You may be missing out on free boxes of healthy food and benefits for Minnesota residents during the COVID-19 crisis.
Public schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul have passed out 7 million meals, many as weekly take-home food packages, while the state distributes $325 per child. No immigration questions asked.
The hunger crisis hits Minnesota—and it’s about to get much worse.
We haven’t seen the mile-long lines at Minnesota food shelves. But the COVID-19 jobs meltdown has driven twice as many visitors to some Twin Cities food shelves. And with federal unemployment benefits ending, the worst lies ahead.
Hmong women sold their embroidery in refugee camps for $1 apiece. The culture they documented is beyond value.
How did 700 pieces of Hmong paj ntaub, or “flowery cloth,” end up in a senior center in Madison, Wisconsin? Ask the cultural archivists who rescued them, and turned them into a new book.
‘I want people to know that the Oromo people are here’: A killing in Ethiopia ignites a youth revolution in Minnesota.
Young protesters, who call themselves qeerroo, speak out about what they want from the government in Addis Ababa (and St. Paul), and what they learned from George Floyd.
Ellison appoints longtime advocate for racial equity to top spot in attorney general’s office
Luz Maria Frías says she will help ensure Minnesotans can live with “dignity and respect.”
They come to Minnesota seeking safety from terrorist groups and gang violence. New Trump asylum rule calls those threats ‘frivolous.’
Trump administration proposes another way to dismantle the asylum process. Many Minnesota applicants could be sent back to face violence.
ICE to international students: Remember that rule change we proposed? Never mind.
Faced with lawsuits–including pushback from 40 Minnesota schools–Immigration and Customs Enforcement backs away from campus plan that could have led to disruptions, deportations.
The cost of practicing journalism for an Ethiopian reporter? A jail cell, a caravan across the Sahara, a raft on the Mediterranean — and exile in Minnesota.
Henok A. Degfu started working on newspapers as a 13-year-old in Addis Ababa. Today, he’s built an audience of millions, covering politics in Ethiopia from an office 8,000 miles away in St. Paul. But the government he escaped 15 years ago hasn’t stopped chasing him around the world.
Minnesota-based TV network burglarized in midst of Oromo protests
St. Anthony-based OBN International says it will suspend operations “indefinitely.”
In the 1970s, Minneapolis faced a population death spiral. Guess who came to the rescue?
In his new book, “Minneapolis: An Urban Biography,” Tom Weber writes about the transformation of Minneapolis from a city that was once 98 percent white—more recently than you’d think.
KSTP-TV reporter asks Muslim woman: What’s the difference between a hijab and white supremacist gang regalia?
Sophia Rashid agreed to tell a reporter about feeling threatened by an Aryan biker gang in Stillwater. It didn’t go well.
Race divides Minnesota parents’ views on schools reopening
State education study shows doubts in Black, Latinx, and Asian communities about the safety of sending kids back to school during the coronavirus pandemic.
What happens when you lose your job—and the government won’t help?
For most U.S. workers, a recession; for immigrant families, a depression.
What you need to know about ICE’s troublesome rules for international students–and Minnesota’s plans to stop them
Attorney General Keith Ellison, the U of M, and MnSCU joined lawsuits against Trump’s immigration office seeking to overturn a new rule that could deport international students.