Citizenship, with its right to vote, offers connections to community

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By Aaron Bowles Voting can be overwhelming for new citizens. The process in the U.S. is different than it is in many other places, and the amount of information jammed onto ballots can be hard to understand, especially if English isn’t your first language.“It’s confusing,” said Nebraska Appleseed project coordinator Rebecca Gonzalez. “Getting your citizenship, >

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Fear reduced to concern, DACA recipient prepares for renewal

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By Kaylee Everly The U.S. immigration policy called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, has helped more than half a million young immigrants pursue an education and economic opportunities. Jessica Jimenez is one of those immigrants. She came with her mother to the United States when she was 4 years old. For most of >

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At Job Club in Omaha, arts and crafts creativity shatters cultural barriers

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By Kelsey Haugen Entisar Kambal, Ram Rai and Bhakti sat together in a classroom filled with sewing machines, scattered art supplies and handmade items. Waiting for the instructor to arrive, they vigilantly worked on their own projects: stuffing pillows, mending clothing and stitching decorative autumn pumpkins. “The teacher Susan very smart,” said Entisar, a >

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Some refugees find Job Corps training can be key to brighter futures

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By Kathleen Anderson The center is located at 10 Opportunity Drive. It would be hard to think of a more appropriate address. Here, right off of Highway 30 in western Iowa, just up the hill from Western Iowa Tech Community College and three miles east of Denison, Iowa, population 8,387, roughly 260 low-income young people >

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Support, expression help refugees connect old life to new culture

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By Justin Perkins “I am my language,” Gloria Anzaldúa boldly states in the fifth chapter “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” of her book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. “Until I can take pride in my language,” she says, “I cannot take pride in myself.” For Anzaldúa, the claiming of identity meant everything, especially in >

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Trauma often follows refugees to a new life

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By Justin Perkins For a time, Saw Ner Clay seemed to have lost everything he worked for in America. After arriving in the U.S. in 2008, his family moved to Nebraska and began to rebuild their lives. They connected with the Karen community in Omaha, and Clay—having worked as a pastor in Thailand—got a position

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Tours offer a look at immigrant businesses

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By Jordan Tate Two recent tours of the Lincoln’s immigrant-owned businesses have helped residents become more familiar with these shops and restaurants, while giving the business owners a chance to share their stories along with the goods and services they offer the community. In 2014, Nebraska Appleseed, a nonprofit organization that fights for justice and

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Refugee children take on extra responsibilities

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By Kathleen Anderson For his first job, Akram Sitawi carried materials made of cement and iron around construction sites in his home country of Iraq. It was a rather dangerous job, especially for someone his age. He was 6. Three years later, in 2006, his family left Iraq for Syria. He dropped out of school

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Hard work on English led him to new life

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By Aaron Bowles When Hadi Pir was young, leaving Iraq was a dream just out of reach. Moving to America was even further from his grasp. Living in Iraq as a Yazidi, a member of a minority religious group of Kurdish people, Pir often thought of what life could be like if he made it

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Through music, Karen seeks to take a stand

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By Kelsey Haugen The Karen community has no shortage of musically inclined individuals, but even so, Jester Thakolo is an outlier – in both originality and stamina. He favors nearly blood-curdling heavy metal rock and screamo over the more acceptable genres in his culture: traditional Karen or gospel. And, believing music is more than a […]

December 8, 2014 at 8:25 am


For now, refugee is safe—but not yet home

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  By Kathleen Anderson Taalo Khudhur is, in many ways, a man without a home—or, perhaps more accurately, a man caught between two homes. His first home, Iraq, no longer exists as he remembers it. And his new home, America, is still too foreign to really feel like one. In the Iraq of Khudhur’s youth, […]

November 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Our Stories

3 stay friends through life on two continents

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By Jordan Tate For more than 20 years, ever since arriving in the United States, Gulie Khalaf, Nia Bakarat and Dilma Hadgis have never been more than a text, a phone call or a Facebook message away from one another. Through their friendship, much like any friendship, they have garnered comfort, strength and laughter. Still […]

November 27, 2014 at 10:09 am

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