Monday, January 17
Today's the day! Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Rochester, Minnesota's 27th annual "We Have a Dream" Community Celebration.
“Refugees didn’t just escape a place. They had to escape a thousand memories until they’d put enough time and distance between them and their misery to wake to a better day.” - Nadia Hashimi
Imagine: What would it take for you to grab your family and run from your home?
Imagine leaving behind everything for which you have worked so hard, fleeing to a place you have never been, where you don’t know a soul. Can you imagine having one hour to pack, choosing items from your home to embark on what may become a long, arduous journey? What would you leave behind? Envision how terrible a situation would be for you to leave everything behind, putting yourself and your family at the mercy of strangers. Before they reached Minnesota, many of our refugee and immigrant neighbors have overcome these formidable challenges and other trauma.
Worldwide Facts at a Glance:
- There are currently 79.5 million forcibly displaced persons worldwide.
- Of those 79.5 million, less than 1% will have the chance to start a new life through refugee resettlement.
- The average stay in a refugee camp is currently 17 years.
- People migrate to a new country as a refugee, asylee, or immigrant. Refugees and asylees are typically people who are forced to flee their homes, whereas immigrants mostly move by choice.
We have a legacy of welcoming new Minnesotans to our state and county.
Local Facts at a Glance:
- Minnesota is home to 484,192 immigrants. (American Immigration Council)
- Immigrants and refugees make up 8.5% of the state population. (New American Economy)
- 11% of Olmsted County residents are foreign-born, according to the U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2019. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- Rochester Public Schools alone has students who speak over 80 languages and dialects. (RPS English Learners)
- 73% of foreign-born residents in Olmsted County are food secure, compared to 96% of U.S.-born residents. (Olmsted County Community Health Needs Assessment) (CHNA)
- In Minnesota, 8% of self-employed business owners are immigrants, and $489 million in revenue is generated by these immigrant-owned businesses. (American Immigration Council)
The contributions of refugees and immigrants have made our community better for everyone.
Today's Challenge: Do one or more of the following...
OPTION 1: Read the Rochester Women Magazine feature on Pamoja to learn how they’re “Putting the Unity in Community”.
OPTION 2: Refugee camps are intended to provide temporary accommodation for people who have been forced to flee their homes. These camps are all different, just as the stories of the people staying in them. View the videos on Oxfam (~5:00) to learn more about the experiences of refugees and asylees throughout the world.
OPTION 3: Jeevan started Rice N Spice in 2001 (located on South Broadway in Rochester). Enjoy a virtual tour and learn about available Indian products and other cultural goods by watching the Rice N Spice video highlight (8:36) presented by IMAA (Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association).
OPTION 4: Watch two short videos. First, meet Sahal, a United Way volunteer (1:34) who has become a well-known advocate for newcomers in Olmsted County. Second, learn more about Meadow Park Initiative (1:41) and what Sahal means when he says, “Meadow Park, I call it the Hub-Center. It’s unique. It’s where you can meet many people from different backgrounds, different culture.”
OPTION 5: Have questions about the content you are engaging with during the Challenge? Want to connect with others and reflect on our shared experiences? We invite you to opt into our virtual Community Conversation #1 (THIS Friday, January 21 from noon-1:00 p.m.) or Community Conversation #2 (Monday, January 31 from noon-1:00 p.m.). Follow the links to learn more and RSVP your attendance. Space is limited to provide a meaningful small-group discussion experience.