Third Home from Burma: Minnesota's Karen Community
Produced by Marisa Helms
The fastest-growing refugee community in Minnesota over the past few years is a population from Southeast Asia most Minnesotans have never heard of--the Karen (pronounced Kuh-RENN). The nearly 7,000 Karen living here, mostly on the east side of St. Paul, have kept a low profile since they first started arriving in 2000. Their journey to Minnesota has been long and difficult. The Karen are an oppressed ethnic minority from Burma, the country also known as Myanmar, and for more than 60 years, innocent Karen men, women and children have become displaced by violence and civil war. Like many refugees who come to Minnesota, the Karen are here because they want to be safe and free from persecution. Most importantly, they want to give their children a better life and a good education. As producer Marisa Helms reports in this MinneCulture audio documentary, the story of the Karen is about resilience and the survival of a community and culture. Here in Minnesota, the Karen have found refuge, and finally, hope for the future.