Over the past four years, Sahan Journal has grown from a staff of one (founder Mukhtar M. Ibrahim) to a 19-person organization. This latest staff photo was taken on May 10, 2023. Credit: Nicole Neri | Sahan Journal

The Asian American Journalists Association honored Sahan Journal Saturday with its 2023 Community Engagement Award for “uplifting” stories about Minnesotans of color. 

The annual award celebrates members and organizations for their leadership, mentoring, civic engagement, and impact, said Andrew Sherry, a spokesperson for the national organization that supports Asian American and Pacific Islander journalists across the country.

Sahan Journal is “changing Minnesota’s news ecosystem by uplifting voices from communities of color in a state that is often portrayed by its white majority in the media,” Sherry said.

“Their existence is crucial for Minnesota,” Sherry added.

The award, among many others, was presented Saturday evening during a gala at the association’s annual conference, which was held in Washington D.C. this year.

The association, known also as AAJA, plays a pivotal role in helping media outlets cover communities of color with accuracy and sensitivity, said Sahan Journal Managing Editor Chao Xiong.

“We’re humbled to know that the work of our dedicated team is reaching readers across the country, spreading the wealth of stories Minnesota has to offer,” Xiong said. “We remain steadfast in our mission to share the stories of Minnesota immigrants and communities of color.”

Founded by CEO and President Mukhtar Ibrahim in 2019, Sahan Journal seeks to illuminate issues affecting Minnesota immigrants and communities of color and to chronicle how these communities are changing and redefining what it means to be a Minnesotan.

“Our editorial coverage is shaped by the communities we serve,” Mukhtar said. “That means asking people, ‘How can we better serve you with journalism that reflects your lived experiences?’”

AAJA was founded in 1981 as a professional membership organization to support and create opportunities for Asian American and Pacific Islander journalists. AAJA has more than 1,600 members and 20 chapters across the country, including in Minnesota