Arts & Culture

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Minnesota’s Karen Community: Third Home from Burma

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.

SUMMER SOLSTICE
Sun Tunnels by Scott Carrier, Poke Stick Scrape Dump by Bill Palladino, & Showing the Garden by Ruth Draper.

Another fun summer mix of old and new in the Echo Chamber. Kicked things off with the new and old at the same time: the new Pressure Sounds Mek It Run release comprised of new Dennis “Blackbeard” Bovell dubs of old tracks (some going back to the 70’s). More new material from: Richie Phoe, Pale Rider, Mystica Tribe, David Pablo, Mutant Frogs, Razia (from 2010), Yume_Noon, and Marvin Gaye vs. Give Thanks Records. On top of this, we played a chunk of Pete Cogle’s Dub Zone 5th Anniversary Mix as part of our summer mix series.

We speak with Katrina Vandenberg about her new poetry collection The Alphabet Not Unlike the World. She is the author of Atlas and co-author of the chapbook, On Marriage. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The Southern Review, The American Scholar, Orion, Post Road, Poets and Writers, and other magazines.

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