HOUR TWO: Rural Refugees
Hour Two in RealAudio 28.8
In the past 20 years, almost 53,000 refugees have resettled in Minnesota. The majority live in the Twin Cities. But about 15 percent of the refugees were placed in rural Minnesota. The Norwegian community of Pelican Rapids in west-central Minnesota now has a lively ethnic mix of Somalians, Mexicans, Vietnamese and Bosnians. English classes for adults are held three nights a week. Last year the community organized International Friendship Day to celebrate the new diversity in town. Not all communities have been so welcoming. A textile business in Benson in Swift County was hoping to bring Hmong workers to town to boost the local labor force. Plans were scrapped after some community members expressed opposition.
Minh Tran, area coordinator for refugee and immigration services for Lutheran Social Services in Moorehead.
Diane Kimm, a Pelican Rapids volunteer who has worked with refugee families in the community
Bob Hulteen, Minnesota Council of Churches. Hulteen works with communities to develop racial tolerance and social justice.
Site producer: Cari Dwyer
Host: Rachel Reabe