Activism Across Borders


At the suggestion of historian Peter Rachleff, we are digging deeper into ways in which immigrant communities remain connected to their home countries, in the realms of politics, activism, etc. Rachleff urged us to dig deeper into “the connections between activism ‘there’ and ‘here,’ the circulation of ideas, the synthesizing of a single struggle, albeit with many internal currents.” 

Immigrant conflicts in the Twin Cities sometimes mirror, or involve the political situations of their home countries. In one example, members of the Eritrean community disagreed about the content of a community radio program on KFAI. In another, members of the Liberian community protested a Liberian Finance Minister speaker invited by a Minnesota Liberian association.

Other stories show multiple connections between immigrants here and the countries they left: A Macalester professor runs for president of Somalia, his home country. A Cambodian refugee couple, building a new life in Minnesota, also build and maintain a school in their home country. A young Ethiopian American organizes and supports a soccer league “back home.” A group of Minnesota restaurant owners organizes economic development projects in their home town of Morelos, Mexico. Somali Minnesotans protest U.S. restrictions on sending money to support their families back in Somalia.

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