Archive for the ‘New York’ Category
Posted by Christopher Coen on March 27, 2013
New York State is opening a statewide office that will focus on refugees and other immigrants – the Office for New Americans. The office will focus on basic services new immigrants need and will also include assistance for starting their own businesses. An article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle explains:
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday an Office for New Americans, the first statewide office to focus on the state’s immigrants.
The office will include 27 neighborhood-based opportunity centers to help immigrants learn English, prepare for citizenship and enter the workforce, particularly to start their own businesses. They will be housed at community-based offices, including in Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Ithaca and White Plains.
“By establishing the Office for New Americans, we are helping our state live up to the promise of the Lady in our Harbor and ensure that New York remains a land of opportunity for all,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Immigration to New York from foreign countries reached 1.2 million people in the 1990s, but dropped to 895,150 new immigrants between 2000 and 2010, a report in 2011 from the Empire Center for New York State Policy found. As of 2010, New York’s foreign-born population was about 21 percent of the total 19.4 million people, the report said. Only California had more immigrants, at 27 percent of its population… Read more here
Posted in economic self-sufficiency, employment/jobs for refugees, Rochester | Tagged: government office, New York, Office for New Americans, refugees | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on October 23, 2012
An article in the Buffalo News explains how a police officer in that city has taken the initiative to help refugees locally. Each year he joins a clothing drive for refugees, and has even traveled to Burma/Myanmar to see how the refugees from that country live. The article also mentions that refugees in Buffalo are living in code-breaking bungalows (rentals?) and that when they arrive they do not seem to get cold-weather clothing (the State Department contract supposedly requires resettlement agencies to give refugees all needed clothing).
From The Buffalo News:
He got the call a few years ago. A woman was wandering, lost, on Buffalo’s West Side. She did not speak English. The encounter sparked Mike Long’s journey from his South Buffalo roots, more deeply into the streets he patrols, and finally to the Burmese countryside.
A Google search led the Buffalo cop to Jericho Road Ministries, the refugee help center. Within minutes, the lost woman in his patrol car was flanked by translators fluent in Burundi and Swahili. They made sense of the woman’s words. Long drove her home – and knew he needed to better understand her world.
“You never want to impose your beliefs on a people, or feel like you know what is best for them,” he said Friday. “I thought I could better serve the refugees here if I saw where they came from.”
In the spirit of helping, the 37-year-old cop took a reverse-immigrant journey. A friend of a friend had started an orphanage in the Burmese countryside. A few months ago, Long joined a caravan bringing medicine, Crocs and clothes to 35 kids…
…Many refugees who resettle on the West Side – mostly Burmese and brightly garbed Somalis – live in code-busting bungalows…
[Long] also knows what he sees every winter: Recent arrivals, shoulders hunched against the freeze, wearing nothing warmer than a long-sleeved shirt. It is why Long, three years ago, jumped headlong into Jericho Road’s annual clothing drive (www.jrm-buffalo.org)… Read more here
Posted in Buffalo, Burma/Myanmar, clothes, housing, housing, substandard, police | Tagged: Buffalo, Burma, Myanmar, police, refugees, resettlement | 1 Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on September 26, 2012
Perpetrators have been targeting Burmese refugees in Rochester, NY. The crimes involve muggings and robberies. The crimes are rarely reported due to the refugees’ mistrust of police. A Sudanese refugee was shot to death last may. WUHF-Fox has an article and video report:
Tonight, we bring you the story of a local group of refugees and their struggle to make a home in Rochester.
News 8 has learned members of the Burmese community who’ve settled on Rochester’s Northwest side have been the targets of persistent crime.
We’re talking about crimes like muggings and robberies, most of which go unreported…
An estimated 800 Burmese refugees live in Rochester many near Lake and Dewey Avenues…
It’s a common problem according to Khadin Lee.
As the Refugee Outreach Worker at Lake Avenue Baptist Church, she works closely with many refugees, and has seen the trend increase over the last year.
Lee believes the Burmese are targeted.
“You can see them as different. Our people, they’ve only been here for a short time so you can see them in their traditional costume.”
Virtually no effort has been made to search for, or question these suspects.
That’s because these crimes hardly ever get reported.
In fact, the Rochester Police Department tells me the last crime like this on record, was over a year ago.
Its not surprising to Lee. She added “Those are the people that are corrupted back home, so when they see people in uniform they dont trust them.”
She is working with the community to increase trust in the police, and teach them how to use 911 to get immediate help… Read more here
Posted in Burma/Myanmar, dangerous neighborhoods, police, Rochester, safety | Tagged: Burma, Burmese, muggings, Myanmar, refugees, resettlement, robbery, rochester | 2 Comments »
Posted by Christopher Coen on September 13, 2012
The Nickel City Smiler documentary film will be shown at the University of Rochester on Thursday, Sept. 27th. A notice at the Brighton-Pittsford Post announces the showing:
Rochester, N.Y. — A public showing of the film “Nickel City Smiler” will be offered through the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education, 252 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 in Hoyt Auditorium on River Campus…
…”Nickel City Smiler” is a documentary film about refugee resettlement in Buffalo.
A panel discussion, moderated by Mary Jane Curry, will follow the film, delving deeper into the themes and issues raised in “Nickel City Smiler.”… Read more here
Posted in Buffalo, Karenni, neglect, Rochester | Tagged: Burma, Burmese, Myanmar, Nickel City Smiler, refugees, resettlement, Smiler Greely, University of Rochester | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on July 19, 2012
An article in The Observer Dispatch offers some advice from a refugee health fair in Utica, New York:
…Jean Skahan, manager of trainings and programs at the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees…[offers] some advice to health care workers with refugee patients:
• Throw away the three-page medical history. Most refugees never have received western health care and probably won’t understand half the terms on the history, even with an interpreter’s help.
• Don’t assume that refugees understand how bodies work.
• When it comes to cancer patients, “encourage and support hope,” she said. Many refugee cultures assume that cancer means certain, imminent death.
• Don’t assume you can gauge pain by looking at someone’s face. Some cultures tend not to show pain in front of strangers.
• Don’t assume a refugee knows what to do with a prescription. She’s found them in all kinds of strange places in refugee apartments.
• Never assume that refugees can’t learn. “These are tough, resilient people,” Skahan said.
• Learn about the culture in question. Some nursery nurses told Skahan they worried about some refugee mothers who don’t try to get out of bed after giving birth. Skahan said she looked into it and found out that in their culture, new mothers rest for 40 days while female relatives handle all the work… Read more here
Posted in best practices, health, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, Utica | Tagged: health, refugees, resettlement | 1 Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on July 2, 2012
New York state has both a “dire” shortage of lawyers who are qualified to practice immigration law as well as inadequate safeguards against incompetent lawyers. An article at WNYC Radio in New York City explains:
There is a “crisis” in the quality and availability of immigration lawyers in the state, the New York State Bar Association says in a new report.
The study flags a “dire” shortage of lawyers who are qualified to practice immigration law and inadequate safeguards against incompetent lawyers…
…“Since there’s a shortage of lawyers willing to provide pro-bono representation for these low income clients, there have been instances where non-profits will have a case worker without a law degree help represent these clients.”
And that well intentioned, but usually unqualified, assistance, she said, frequently leads to serious mistakes. Rizzo mentioned one instance in which a caseworker without a law degree helped a Burmese immigrant she later represented. The caseworker filled out an immigration form incorrectly, and as a result, Rizzo explained, the federal government suspected fraud and denied visas to the immigrant’s wife and child.
His wife and child eventually were permitted to come into the country, but only after she spent considerable time rectifying the caseworker’s mistakes…
…According to the lawyers who drafted the report, immigrants in the state often do not understand how to acquire legal representation and do not have the ability to represent themselves. Language problems only further exacerbate these representation problems.
The lawyers note that the shortage is felt most heavily in the areas of the state where immigration assistance is needed the most.
“Particularly in the central part of New York state, especially where there are large majorities of migrant farm workers and other immigrants, such as refugees who are resettling in various parts of upstate New York, we don’t have an availability of attorneys that specialize in immigration law to represent these individuals,” said Macri… Read more here
Posted in Burma/Myanmar, immigration services, New York | Tagged: immigration law, lawyers, New York, refugees, resettlement | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on June 16, 2012
Nickel City Smiler Movie – Karen People of Burma Refugee Documentary Film
This important refugee film can now be viewed on all your mobile devices. Please share this link with friends, family and anyone interested in refugee issues. Watch the trailer, read customer and critic reviews, and download Nickel City Smiler directed by Scott Murchie for $5.99
iTunes – Movies – Nickel City Smiler
Posted in Buffalo, Burma/Myanmar | Tagged: Buffalo, Burma, documentary, film, Myanmar, Nickel City Smiler, refugees, resettlement, Scott Murchie, Smiler Greely | 1 Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on May 31, 2012
Much of what makes our country so alien and difficult for refugees to adjust to is the changes to our society brought about by technological change. Many of these people are coming from societies that have not been impacted by technological change to the same degree that our culture has. These differences add to culture shock and to the cultural bereavement they experience for the culture they left behind. An English as a second language teacher took his students to a local historical museum to show them the similarity of our culture to theirs before the advent of modern technologies. An article at the Buffalo News explains:
About a year into teaching refugees in Buffalo, Nick Prune decided to take his class to the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum. Most of the refugees were from Burma — people accustomed to living in the forest and making their own clothes.
“When we brought them there, we could show them that life here wasn’t that different than theirs long ago,” said Prune, a teacher of English as a second language in the Buffalo Public Schools. The refugees saw how Americans lived before the Industrial Revolution and “felt more connected to the country,” Prune said…
…Looking back, Prune says, the visit to the museum was the best field trip his class took, as it allowed them to more easily understand American culture… Read more here
Posted in acculturative stress - adaping to a new land/culture, alienation-isolation, Buffalo, Burma/Myanmar, cultural adjustment, mental health | Tagged: acculturative stress, cultural bereavement, culture shock, historical museum, historical society | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on May 17, 2012
A South Sudanese refugee who arrived in Rochester, NY at age 14 as an unaccompanied minor was murdered on Tuesday. Paul Chol Awuol was holding a friend’s son when a man just came up and shot him in the chest, according to the friend, Jessica Lane. He was in the process of becoming a certified nursing assistant, focused on helping others, when he went to Smith Street Tuesday to watch Lane’s child. In 2010 Sudanese refugees in Rochester reported finding a bullet hole in their apartment ceiling after three men were shot to death in the apartment above. A report at CBS Channel 8 gives details:
As Rochester police search for a suspect in Tuesday’s Smith Street homicide, friends of Paul Chol Awuol say the Sudanese refugee was shot in the chest while watching a close friend’s son.
Jerry DeLuccio wants people to remember Awuol as more than a crime statistic. “This was a young man that has made such a difference,” he said…
…Awuol was in the process of becoming a certified nursing assistant, focused more and more on helping others. That’s what led him to Smith Street Tuesday, to watch a friend’s child. “He was holding my son in his hand when this man came and just shot him in the chest,” said friend Jessica Lane through tears.
A small memorial has begun where the Sudanese refugee fell, the painful irony all too clear. The man who came to America as a boy to escape violence was ultimately killed by a gunman. “That’s what hurts me so much, is that he was ready to explode, in terms of how he would help others and we’re never going to have that chance,” said DeLuccio… Read more here
Posted in dangerous neighborhoods, men, Rochester, safety, South Sudanese, teenagers | Tagged: dangerous neighborhoods, Paul Chol Awuol, refugees, resettlement, rochester, shot to death, sudanese | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on April 17, 2012
At least five houses were damaged in a fire that sweep through an historic neighborhood in downtown near the capitol in Albany on Sunday. The building where the fire started was occupied by three Myanmar refugee families resettled by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany. An article at the Albany Times-Union explains:
ALBANY — First, neighbors heard screams. Then they saw the flames.
A wall of fire washed over half a block of Park Avenue in the Mansion neighborhood Sunday evening, drawing every firetruck in the capital city to try to contain a blaze that was roaring in three houses when crews arrived around 8 p.m.
At least five houses erected in the years after the Civil War were damaged, officials said late Sunday. And although half a city block was evacuated as smoke and steam spoiled the mild spring air, no firefighters or residents were injured, according to Mayor Jerry Jennings and Fire Chief Robert Forezzi.
It was too early, the men said, to know how many people were displaced…
…Michele O’Sullivan, 45, was sitting in her apartment at 56 Park Ave. when “we heard screams, then we heard fire, then we looked up and in seconds we saw the flames.” She and several other neighbors said the blaze started at 60 Park Ave., in the back of the top floor. Forezzi and Jennings said an investigation was ongoing and that any word on a cause was premature. That building is occupied by three families who are refugees from the southeast Asian nation of Burma, according to a volunteer for Catholic Charities who assists them. The volunteer declined to be named. Some recently arrived in the city, but others have been here at least two years, the volunteer said… Read more here
Posted in Albany, apartment building fires, Burma/Myanmar | Tagged: Albany, apartment house fire, Burma, catholic charities, Myanmar, refugees, resettlement | Leave a Comment »