World Refugee Day is coming up on June 20, and although it is a day first and foremost to remember the world’s displaced, it also reminds us just how big a heart Minnesota has for those seeking a better place to live. From religious groups that have helped thousands of Hmong and Somalis to community organization to our state and local governments, Minnesota has a tradition of helping groups make a new home.
In 1985, then-Governor Rudy Perpich commissioned a study exploring what Minnesota could do in the area of human rights, a report which led to the establishment of the Center for Victims of Torture, the first of its kind in the nation. It remains a leader in providing services for survivors of torture today. When CVT was established so was the legislation that ensures public health services to refugees. People who do not otherwise qualify for Medical Assistance under standard eligibility requirements but are clients of the Center for Victims of Torture are still eligible to receive services.
While these policies are borne in generosity, they’re also forward-thinking initiatives that have helped enhance Minnesota’s human rights efforts. They’re part of what makes Minnesota great. In these times where we see so many program cuts and sometimes forget our capacity for greatness, it is especially important to remember what we do well and aspire to continue that good work.