Enhancing the quality of life for all refugees from Burma in Minnesota

News and Events Archive: 2016

Karen New Year 2755

The Karen Organization of Minnesota (KOM) and Karen community leaders cordially invite you to attend the 2016 Karen New Year Celebration.

When: Friday, January 1
Where: Washington Technology Magnet School (1495 Rice Street, St. Paul, MN 55117)

We are also excited to welcome the Klo & Kweh Music Team from Burma for a special New Year's Eve concert! This concert will be on Thursday, December 31, at 5:00pm at Washington Technology Magnet School.

Learn more →

Karen Family Engagement Day

Get out of the cold and stay warm this winter by bringing your kids to Arlington Hills Community Center (1200 Payne Ave., St. Paul, MN 55130) on Saturday, January 30 from 1:00-5:00pm for Karen Family Engagement Day.

This FREE event open to the public will feature a special reading by the authors of two children's books in Karen language that the Saint Paul Public Library and The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library recently produced together. Limited copies of the two books, "The Hen and the Badger" and "Elephant Huggy," will also be distributed at the event. Lastly, there will be performances from participants in Storytime in Karen and a graduation for digital literacy learners.

Learn more about the event at the St. Paul Public Library website.

Give Kids A Smile Day

Bring a smile to your child's face by taking them to a participating dental clinic on Give Kids a Smile Day for FREE basic dental services on Friday, February 5 or Saturday, February 6.

Give Kids a Smile is a charitable program coordinated by the Minnesota Dental Association to provide free care to low-income children in need. Children must be ages 3 to 18 to receive dental services, but no eligibility questions are asked. A list of participating clinics can be found at the Minnesota Dental Association website (14 participating dental clinics in Ramsey County). Be sure to make an appointment in advance to ensure your child can be seen by a dentist.

FREE Tax Clinics at KOM

File your taxes early and receive FREE assistance by signing up for an appointment with a certified tax filer at the Karen Organization of Minnesota (KOM) on Friday, February 5 or Friday, February 12 from 5:30-8:30pm each day.

Call KOM's main line, 651-788-7593, to schedule an appointment. Karen interpreters will be available. Read a flyer in Karen language.

Mammogram Screening Van at VSS

Are you a woman over the age of 40? We will be holding FREE mammogram screenings at Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota (277 University Ave. W, St. Paul, MN 55103) on Thursday, February 11 from 9:00am-2:30pm for Karen women and other refugee women.

Mammograms are important screenings for women that help detect early signs of breast cancer. No insurance is required. Call Julyna Loo at 651-202-3128 to make an appointment. Read a flyer in Karen language.

Karen National Day Celebration

Join the Karen community in Minnesota for the 68th Karen National Day celebration on Saturday, February 20 from 5:00-10:00pm at First Baptist Church of St. Paul (499 Wacouta Street, St. Paul, MN 55101). There will be speeches and performances from leaders and community groups, including a keynote speech from the vice chair of the Karen National Union.

Karen National Day is an important holiday for all Karen people. After Burma gained independence from the British in 1948, Karen people protested on February 11, demanding their own homeland. They were denied their request by the Burmese government, so the Karen National Union (KNU) took up arms. Thus, Karen National Day is celebrated every year on or near February 11 to honor the original demonstrators with speeches, song, dance, and food.

Karen Culture Presentation

Are you interested in learning more about Karen culture? Then please join us for our first bi-monthly Karen culture presentation on Friday, March 11 from 3:30-5:00pm at KOM's office (2353 Rice Street, Suite 240, Roseville, MN 55113). During this meeting, two of our Karen staff members will be presenting on the history, culture, and life of the Karen people in depth. There will also be a discussion time at the end of the presentation for attendees to ask questions. If you are attending, please RSVP by emailing events@mnkaren.org.

Festival of Nations

The Karen Culture Organization of Minnesota will be performing Karen Don Dance at the Festival of Nations again this year! They will be performing on the World Stage twice: Friday, May 6 at 8:00pm and Saturday, May 7 at 4:00pm. Also make sure to stay to enjoy performances, exhibits, and food from cultures all around the world. The Festival of Nations will be held May 6-8 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre (175 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102).

The Festival of Nations encourages people to celebrate the rich cultural diversity brought to us from immigrants around the globe. The theme for this year's event is "Folklore & Fairy Tales." Learn more about the festival.

Art in the Hollow

The weaving group part of the "Being Well" Program that KOM supports will be selling their traditional Karen weaving again at Art in the Hollow this summer! The art fair will be held on Saturday, June 4 from 10:00am-5:00pm at Swede Hollow Park (615 7th St E, St Paul, MN 55106).

Come out to the festival to support the women, and purchase some beautiful hand-woven Karen clothing or bags made right here in St. Paul! This is one of the few sales that the women are a part of during the year, so you don't want to miss it. Learn more about the art fair.

Twin Cities World Refugee Day

Celebrate the artistic and cultural contributions that refugees bring to Minnesota at the 10th Annual Twin Cities World Refugee Day Celebration on Saturday, June 11 from 12:00-4:00pm at Arlington Hills Community Center (1200 Payne Ave., St. Paul, MN 55130). The festival is FREE and features a cultural stage, community resource fair, global food and craft vendors, and children's activities.

Additionally, there will be two special performances from the Karen community! The students in KOM's Youth Program at Humboldt High School will be performing Karen Bamboo Dance and the Karen Culture Organization of Minnesota (KCOM) will be performing Karen Don Dance. The Weaving Circle will also be selling their weaving art at the festival. You don't want to miss this! Learn more about TCWRD.

Karen Culture Presentation

Are you interested in learning more about the Karen people? Then please join us for our bi-monthly Karen Culture Presentation at KOM's Office on Friday, June 17 from 3:30-5:00pm! Learn about Karen culture, history, language, and refugee resettlement in Minnesota. Come with open ears and any questions.

Attendance is limited to 30 people. Please RSVP by registering for a ticket.

July 4th Fundraiser

download the flyer

If you're eager to get outside on July 4th, then celebrate locally with the Karen Organization of Minnesota at our first annual July 4th Fundraiser! The fundraiser will be held on Monday, July 4 from 10:00am-6:00pm at Trinity Baptist Church (2220 Edgerton St., Maplewood, MN 55117). All money raised will support unfunded services at KOM such as walk-in services, transportation, and the gardening project. Join us for a variety of activities, including:

  • Foodkaw naw (Karen noodle), pad ka prao (Thai basil chicken), samosa, boo thee kyaw (friend vegetables), som tum (papaya salad), ice salad drink, etc.
  • Garage Sale – bikes, kitchenware, clothing, shoes/accessories, small appliances, fishing rods, linens, etc. Donate new or like-new items to the garage sale by contacting Rebekah Jacobson at 651-202-3112 or rjacobson@mnkaren.org.
  • Games – bouncy house, badminton, jump rope, etc.
  • Men's & Women's Volleyball TournamentRegister your team by contacting Ta Da at 651-202-3102 or tda@mnkaren.org.

The event is FREE but you will need tickets to purchase food and garage sale items. Purchase a $10 ticket voucher in advance at KOM's office or purchase $1 tickets at the event. Contact Eh Tah Khu (651-202-3114 or ekhu@mnkaren.org) or Morrison Johnny (651-202-3101 or smorrison@mnkaren.org) to learn more about the event.

66th Karen Martyr's Day Celebration

Join the Karen Community in Minnesota (KCM) for the 66th Karen Martyr's Day Celebration from August 12-14 at McDonough Soccer Field (575 L'Orient Ave, St. Paul, MN 55117). The main ceremony will be held on Saturday, August 13 from 9:00-11:00am with a free meal served afterwards. The remainder of the celebration will feature food vendors, children's games, and sport tournaments. Tournaments include men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball, and men's cane ball.

Karen Martyr's Day commemorates the death of Saw Ba U Gyi, the first president of the Karen National Union. The event is held every year on August 12 to honor Saw Ba U Gyi and those who have died or been injured fighting for the independence of the Karen. Contact Nay Htoo at 651-354-9768 or Marner Saw at 651-468-6375 for more information.

Saint Paul Art Crawl

Celebrate the vibrant local artist community in Minnesota during the 25th Anniversary of the Saint Paul Art Crawl on October 14 - 16. Artists open up their studios and other artists flock in to display and sell their work in multiple buildings throughout the city. This year, the Karen Weaving Circle has the opportunity to demonstrate and sell their traditional weaving art at the art crawl as part of the Folk and Traditional Artists Showcase. The showcase will be held at Park Square Court (400 Sibley Street, Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55101) and the Karen Weaving Circle will be present during the following time: Saturday, October 15: 1:00-8:00pm

Stop by to show your support for the Karen Weaving Circle and purchase their artwork for yourself or as a gift for someone this holiday season! Thanks to the Minnesota State Arts Board for granting the KWC this opportunity.

KOM's 6th Annual Gala

Join the Karen Organziation of Minnesota for our 6th Annual Gala on Thursday, October 27 from 6:00-9:00pm at Hamline University’s Anderson Center (774 Snelling Ave. N St. Paul, MN 55104). KOM’s Annual Gala is a meaningful occasion to celebrate the growth and success we have had over the past year and thank our supporters who made it possible. An estimated 300 guests will enjoy a social hour with a cash bar, a silent auction, dinner, and a short program highlighting our new Career Pathways Program. Proceeds from the gala will support KOM’s programs that help refugees from Burma settle, integrate, and become self-sufficient in their new home. View more information and register for the Gala.

Karen Weaving Exhibition

Join the Karen Weaving Circle for this FREE event showcasing the traditional art of Karen weaving! The event will be held on Friday, November 11 from 4:00-7:00pm at the East Side Freedom Library (1105 Greenbrier St, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55106).

The Karen Weaving Circle was created by women who wanted to revive, maintain and pass on traditional weaving. They weave together weekly and teach this folk art to youth in St. Paul and Roseville public schools. This exhibition will showcase traditional pieces and demonstrate the weaving process with six stations. Interpreters will be available for questions and refreshments will be served. Weaving made by the women will also be available for purchase.

Can't make it to the opening exhibition? No problem! Stop by the ESFL from Nov. 12 - 23 from 9:00am-2:00pm (excluding Sundays) to see the exhibit.

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