Iraqi teacher gets new legs in Minnesota

I met Ikhlas Muhassan Abbas as she waited outside the home of the family hosting her that night. Her mom, Fadeelah, was with her, along with a few of the people who brought her to the United States. She wore a plaid white and tan scarf. But the most striking thing was that, when I first saw her, she was standing up.

She was standing up thanks to brand new legs given to her by new friends in the Twin Cities. 

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Under the Census microscope: Hmong Minnesotans

The first Hmong immigrants to the United States arrived in 1975. Over the next few years, a small handful of them were allowed to immigrate. Future Minnesota Senate Majority Whip Mee Moua arrived with her family in 1978 and future Minnesota State Representative Cy Thao arrived in 1980. That same year Congress passed the Refugee Act which accelerated the migration of Hmong to America. 

The first census to measure Hmong Americans in any detail was the 1990 census. By then, 90,082 people listed Hmong as their ethnic group, with 16,833 of them (18.3%) living in Minnesota and 46,892 (52%) living in California. Continue Reading

Census undercount – How does that happen?

The primary purpose of the census is to count the number of people in the United States. Each year, thousands of people are not counted for one reason or another, known as the census undercount. This results in inaccurate population estimates, which can lead to money being lost for the state. If the undercount is large enough, the state may lose a congressional district.Mario Vargas, the Census 2010 Coordinator for Minnesota, says that people are not counted when they are sent a census form and do not return it. While this happens in every demographic, some groups are more vulnerable to undercount compared to others. Continue Reading

Marking Tibet uprising anniversary in St. Paul

March 10 was Tibetan Uprising Day. Around the world, members of the Tibetan diaspora and their supporters drew attention to the ongoing strife in the region, and they were joined by about 200 supporters on the front steps of the State Capitol in St. Paul. Tibetan Uprising Day commemorates the attempted rebellion by Tibetan against the Chinese on March 10, 1959. 
As a result of the rebellion, the 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet for India 20 days later, setting up the Central Tibetan Administration (which is often called the Tibetan Government in Exile) in Dharmsala. The rally in St. Continue Reading

“Espresso yourself!” Coffee Party offers national, MN alternative to Tea Party

Almost a year ago the tea party movement mobilized citizens to political action. Now, the Coffee Party has kicked off. The Coffee Party may sound like a would-be opposition party to the Tea Party – and it has been portrayed as such by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere (The Week has a good roundup of articles) – but some of its Minnesota supporters say that its purpose is much deeper than just being an opposition party. It started as a visceral reaction to the Tea Party approach. Annabel Park was angry at their approach of “us against the government,” and she proposed an alternative: “Let’s get together and drink cappuccino and have real political dialogue with substance and compassion,” she wrote on her Facebook page in January. Continue Reading

Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari to speak at Augsburg

Augsburg College will hold its 15th annual Nobel Peace Prize Festival on Friday, March 5th. The festival will honor Martti Ahtisaari, the former President of Finland and recipient of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize. Ahtisaari will speak at the opening ceremony and the first session, titled “Striving for Peace, a Question of Will,” which will start on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Melby Hall. Ahtisaari will also speak at a forum called “A Deliberative Dialogue on the Role of Small States in Strategic Peacebuilding,” which will begin on Saturday, March 6th at 9 a.m., also in Melby Hall. He will be joined by Kjell Magne Bondevik, the former Prime Minister of Norway and founder of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. Continue Reading