The Minnesota Department of Human Services is continuing its celebration of refugees with the second in a series of photography exhibits and community conversations, traveling to the George Latimer Central Library, 90 West Fourth St. in St. Paul, on Aug. 7, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., in the library’s Otto Bremer Community Room, first floor.
The exhibit, “When Home Won’t Let You Stay,” features photographs by James A. Bowey, a documentary photographer who explores human rights and social connections. Photos will be exhibited Aug. 1 through Sept. 2.
Bowey, local refugees who participated in the project and experts from the department’s Resettlement Programs Office will participate in a community conversation. The public is welcome to attend.
The event, sponsored by the George Latimer Central Library, will include:
- A brief welcome by Jim Koppel, Minnesota Department of Human Services assistant commissioner for Children and Family Services
- A brief overview of Minnesota’s refugee communities with Patricia Fenrick, Resettlement Programs Office, and Jane Eastwood, George Latimer Central Library director
- A roundtable discussion among community members, facilitated by Bowey, with contributions from Resettlement Programs Office representatives and refugees who participated in the exhibit.
“Refugees have struggled greatly to get here,” said Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper. “We want to listen to their stories, welcome them to Minnesota, and talk with them and others about the refugee experience.”
Another event hosted by the Resettlement Programs Office — Refugee 101 — is scheduled for August 22, from noon to 1 p.m., at the George Latimer Central Library, with a presentation by Patricia Fenrick, refugee workforce development and outreach coordinator, Minnesota Department of Human Services. The public is welcome to attend to learn more about Minnesota’s refugee and immigrant history, and populations.
In 2016, more than 3,000 refugees came directly to Minnesota, and another 2,000 refugees moved here from other states. Outside of the Twin Cities area, Kandiyohi, Olmsted and Stearns counties had the largest growth in refugee populations. In Greater Minnesota, St. Cloud and Rochester welcomed the most refugees arriving directly from other countries.
The Resettlement Programs Office supports the effective resettlement of refugees in Minnesota and ensures their basic needs are met so they can thrive. The office ensures accessibility to mainstream programs for people with refugee status, distributes federal dollars to local agencies for supplemental services, and provides education and information about refugees in Minnesota.