Documentary on Cambodian genocide shown in Minneapolis

“I think only a real killer can tell the truth,” said Thet Sambath, co-director of the documentary Enemies of the People about the Cambodian genocide from 1975-79. Sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Program, the documentary was shown on November 11 at the St. Anthony Main Theater in Minneapolis as part of the Minnesota Film Arts In Search of Asia: Minneapolis-St. Paul Asian Film Festival.The critically acclaimed documentary is a joint work of Thet Sambath and Rob Lemkin, who won awards including the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It tells the story of Sambath, who for years had been videotaping and recording his conversations with men and women who took part in the massacres during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-79. Continue Reading

Cambodia to Minnesota: Vuth Chhunn’s story

Vuth Chhunn, 26, came to Minnesota in 1993. His parents are survivors of the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. Forced out of their country, they fled to a Thailand refugee camp and lived there until the family immigrated to the United States. According to Chhunn, for his parents this move symbolized a life far away from the genocide and a better future for their children.Did your family adapt to Minnesota well?The living conditions in Minnesota are significantly better than in the refugee camp, but the climate, particularly winter, and the language is very difficult for my parents. They still have a very hard time adjusting to the weather and language. Continue Reading

Cambodia to Minnesota: Peou “Beaw” Pin-Mene’s story

Peou “Beaw” Pin-Mene, 34, came to Minnesota at the age of six. She and her family survived the Cambodian genocide and after several stays at Thai refugee camps were able to immigrate to the United States. Where do you and your family come from?My family is originally from the Kompong Cham Province, and through my late father’s work, they relocated multiple times, to different parts of Cambodia.My mom seldom speaks of my late father’s work, perhaps it’s too painful for her and I tried to press her for more details and now I’ve learned to just respect her decision. All that I’ve been told is that he worked for the government and at the onset of the “Killing Fields,” he was told that he needed to take his troops to meet and guard the King of Cambodia. This was April 18, 1975. He was never seen again.How and why did you and your family decide to come to Minnesota?Our family didn’t make the decision to come to Minnesota voluntarily. Continue Reading

Swedish delegation studies successes of Minneapolis Somali immigrants

Two dozen Swedish delegates-professionals from various governmental and academic entities working in community development-came to Minnesota in October to see first-hand the economic success and integration of the Somali-American community firsthand and to take new ideas home to the growing Somali population in Sweden. For Benny Carlson, a professor at Lund University in Sweden, this was a return visit. He first came to the Twin Cities in 2005, doing research to help a student write an essay about the Somali-American community in the Twin Cities. After his visit, Carlson not only helped his student write his essay, he also wrote a book about the successful businesses and malls run by Somali-Americans in Minnesota.The African Development Center of Minnesota (ADC), a nonprofit organization that helps African immigrants establish their own businesses, arranged a week-long program for the Swedish delegates. The reported They visited the Karmel Plaza, one of the largest Somali malls in the Twin Cities (reported by the Star Tribune and MPR), and the American Swedish Institute.The delegation directly exchanged experiences and ideas with local business leaders. “They are willing to learn and change,” said Hussein Samatar, executive director of the ADC. Continue Reading

They want a DREAM: Minnesota’s undocumented students talk about their future

David* has been living in St. Paul since 2003, when his family decided to move from Mexico to the United States. For them the move was a long wished-for family reunion – his father and other family members were already living in Minnesota. David was 14 when his family brought him here.  UPDATE: According to Politico, “President Barack Obama told Democratic members of Congress Tuesday [November 16] he wants the DREAM Act passed in the lame duck session as a “down payment” on substantial immigration reform, according to members at the meeting.”David described his experience as a new arrival in Minnesota: “The difficulty of learning a language, getting used to the culture. Learning what you are supposed to do and what not. Continue Reading

MIGIZI youth project premieres videos

An excited group of young Native Americans presented their own documentaries on October 15 at South High School. Working together with MIGIZI Communications the pupils produced short films focused on topics concerning the local American Indian community-issues that are barely covered by the mainstream media. As stated on their homepage, all projects managed by MIGIZI Communications pursued the goal “of countering the misrepresentations, inaccuracies, and falsehoods promulgated about Native Peoples in the major media.” 

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Development proposal for Calhoun Square

The CARAG Zoning Committee met September 15 to review a proposal by Calhoun Square to modify their expansion plans for the northeast corner of Hennepin Avenue and West 31st Street. Calhoun Square is proposing to build a one-story structure for home furnishings retailer CB2. CB2, owned by Crate & Barrel, sells “affordable, modern housewares and […] Continue Reading

Adolescent psychologist breaks down causes of teen stress

Psychologist Bruce Kohlhase, 55, knows what it’s like to be a teen under stress. When he was a teenager, his father, grandparent and classmate died. His mother had a stroke and his cousin committed suicide – all within a few years. Kohlhase says his early experiences with stress encouraged him to counsel teenagers. He sat down to talk with Reporter Daysha Patterson about the types of stress teens experience and how they can deal with it. Continue Reading

Keeping the oral tradition alive in Minnesota: Black Master Storytellers Festival

In ancient times children gathered around the fire, listening to the stories of their ancestors – stories they would later on keep alive for generations. From September 23-25 the African heritage was carried on at the 19th Annual Black Master Storytelling Festival “Signifyin’ & Testifyin'” in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The stories will continue at the 28th Annual National Black Storytelling Festival and Conference “In the tradition…” in Minneapolis from November 17-21, 2010.”Children always needed stories to entertain them but they also needed tales to teach them how to act with one another, how to take care of the environment and what things to watch out for”, said Nothando Zulu, president of the Black Storytellers Alliance. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | “Legends” of jazz take the stage at the Capri Theater

The Capri Theater in North Minneapolis is opening its 4th Season of their “Legends” Series this upcoming weekend. “Blue: Songs on the Indigo Side”, a blues-infused concert featuring a new generation of Minnesota jazz artists, will make the start on Saturday, Oct. 9, 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 10, 3.p.m.The three young Minnesotan natives Katie Gearty, Rachel Holder, and Nancy Harms are going to entertain their audience with an evening of jazz standards and several pop tunes in jazz-shaded arrangements. The singers are backed by an experienced jazz trio (Phil Aaron on piano and keyboards, Jay Epstein on drums and Graydon Peterson on bass). Continue Reading