Immigrant Heritage Month: June 28 Immigration Walking Tour and Immigrant Youth Event

On Thursday, June 28, East Side Freedom Library will host a walking tour on Saint Paul’s East Side to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month. The tour will meet at East Side Freedom Library, located at 1105 Greenbrier Street in St. Paul. Please arrive by 3:45 p.m. The tour will begin at 4 p.m., and will last around 90 minutes.

Freedom Library’s co-founder Peter Rachleff will lead the tour along Payne Avenue, following the experiences of 19th century immigrants up to contemporary Hmong, Somali, Mexican, and Karen neighbors. The tour will explore political, economic, and cultural forces prompting emigration from homelands, as well as settlement patterns and organization in St. Paul.

Library parking is available. Please wear walking shoes and dress for the weather.

It is free to attend the tour, but space is limited to 30 people. Reservations are required. Please RSVP by Monday, June 25, to Chrissy Hursh at chrissy.hursh@metrostate.edu.

After the tour, there will be refreshments provided in the library between 5:30 p.m.–7 p.m.

Following refreshments, the East Side Freedom Library invites everyone to another event, a special reading curated by Green Card Voices, a local nonprofit organization. The reading is from 7 p.m.–8:30 p.m. in the library, and is free and open to the public.

“The Voices of St. Paul’s Immigrant Youth” features three of 30 students from St. Paul’s LEAP High School Green Card Voices met with in 2017. Supported by their English Language Learning teacher and Hamline University graduate students, these 30 students from 13 different countries created online video narratives and wrote essays that were included in a book published in the summer of 2017. The book, Green Card Youth Voices: Immigration Stories from a St. Paul High School, was a Midwest Book Award finalist.

Come meet and listen to three of these authors.

Immigrant Youth Reading Speakers

Jae Nay Htoo (Thailand-Karen): “When I was in the refugee camps, there were no surprises in my life. It was just a simple life. But when I here, many surprises happened to me, and there were many challenges that I had to face.”

Nima Ahmed (Djibouti): “When I was sixteen, my parents kicked me out because they found out that I was gay. After I moved out, I lived in a shelter for several months. I felt lonely and isolated because I have never experienced life alone.”

Anta Thosaengsiri (Thailand-Hmong): “I remember meeting family members who were like strangers to me because I’d never met them before.”