Since the pandemic started, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of almost 2,000 people in Minnesota. Who were they? Imagine a photo album with all their faces and names. Flipping through the pages, we’d see our grandparents, teachers, brothers, sisters, caretakers, coaches, politicians, nurses, spouses—and, of course, more.

What made them happiest? How did they spend time with family? What did they do at work? How did they help their families and their communities? 

We’d like to help create some version of that album. Here at Sahan Journal, we’re looking to memorialize the lives of Minnesota’s new Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

Immigrant communities and people of color have suffered disproportionately from the coronavirus. People of color make up about 22 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the Black population makes up about 10 percent of COVID-19 deaths, while the Latino community makes up about 5 percent. The state’s Asian population adds 5 percent, too. 

However, the state does not track cases by immigration status, which makes it difficult to understand how immigrant communities are being affected. Their stories—and our stories—often get lost in the numbers.

So we want to hear from you. If you’ve lost a family member, a friend, or a coworker to the coronavirus, we can honor them with your help.

Here’s how it works:

  1. By filling out the form below, your responses will provide us with the information to write an obituary about your loved one.
  2. If you share your contact information at the end of the form, a reporter may reach out to learn more about the story you’ve shared. They will also ask for a photo. This step is entirely voluntary: It’s there to help us find out more for the story. 
  3. Our reporters will then catalog these stories on Sahan Journal’s website, where readers can remember those who lost their lives to COVID-19, while also learning about what made their lives special.

We are aware of the concerns that some people, particularly immigrants, may have about sharing information. You can leave some items blank on the form. Please write only what you feel comfortable sharing with us. We hope that this project will shine a light on how immigrant and refugee communities have been impacted by the pandemic. 

Thank you in advance for your help. If you have any questions, please email  covid@sahanjournal.com

If you would like to share your loved one’s story in another language—Hmong, Somali, Spanish, or other—please leave a voicemail at 612-524-9440 and Sahan Journal will reach out to you.

Sahan Journal

Sahan Journal is the only independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit digital newsroom dedicated to providing authentic news reporting for and about immigrants and refugees in Minnesota.