An interview with Maria Padian, author of Out of Nowhere, about friendships between Somali and franco-catholic high school students in Maine. Maria talks about her own experience with four immigrant grandparents, and how different it is to come here as an immigrant, eager to build a new life, than to come as a refugee, having had to flee a war and the loss of loved ones. She describes how the numerous losses may make holding onto one’s culture and religion even more important when they are some of the few remaining ties to home. The book describes many moments of well-intentioned misunderstandings as the students build friendships across multiple layers of difference. Maria shares her belief that forming real relationships, or knowing the true story of individuals is what can help us overcome fear and mistrust of each other.
An interview with Mohammed Dini, executive director of the African Diaspora Institute, founder of Portland Forward and former candidate for state representative. Mohammed talks about his experience moving to Maine at age 13 and learning to identify himself as a Mainer. He introduces us to the Somali concept of furfurnaan, which means openness [Read more…]