Sara is an Iraqi citizen who fled to the U.S. after her brother’s work for the American forces in Baghdad put her family in danger. She talks about the opaque process of applying to leave, and her complicated feelings when she learned that she would be allowed to pack only two bags.
Immigration & Refugees
This episode of Safe Space Radio features high school senior Eman, who moved to the U.S. in 2015. She talks about leaving her friends and family behind in Sudan and again in Egypt, where she lived for five years. Eman remembers being at the mercy of resettlement organizations, and being elected as class president only …read more »
Taysier moved to Maine from Sudan in 2015 with three of her children. Because of her volunteer work with humanitarian aid agencies in Darfur, Taysier was detained by the Sudanese government, who accused her of spying. In this episode, she tells her story of her escape, and talks about her life since moving to America, …read more »
This episode of Safe Space Radio features Catherine Bestemen, Francis F. and Ruth K. Bartlett Professor of Anthropology at Colby College. She is the author of Unraveling Somalia: Race, Class, and the Legacy of Slavery and has worked closely with the Somali community in Portland, Maine. She discusses the extraordinary resilience of this community, the impact …read more »
This is the second episode of Safe Space Radio to feature Catherine Bestemen, Francis F. and Ruth K. Bartlett Professor of Anthropology at Colby College and the author of Unraveling Somalia: Race, Class, and the Legacy of Slavery. Catherine has spent her career studying society in both Somalia and Maine, where many Somali refugees have …read more »
Lawyer Phil Mantis works for the Immigrant Legal Assistance Program, or ILAP, in Portland, Maine. ILAP provides free legal help to people seeking asylum in the United States. Phil explains the difference between a refugee and an asylee, describes the most common reasons asylum cases are denied, and explains how ILAP helps asylees apply successfully.
This episode of Safe Space Radio features Alice Barakagwira, an asylum-seeker from Burundi who now lives in Portland, Maine. She talks about her work to support and empower women who have faced cultural silencing and endured trauma in both Burundi and the U.S. Alice and Anne explore ways that refugees might be connected with therapists …read more »
This episode of Safe Space Radio features Anna, who escaped Syria while 8 months pregnant in 2013 and now lives in Maine. She talks about trading the daily threat of bombings and kidnappings for a life of uncertainty as she and her husband applied and waited for asylum—and how the experience changed her understanding of …read more »
This is a particularly intense interview about one woman’s narrow escape from Burundi, after she and her mother gave medical aid to an injured protester. She describes their arrest and interrogation prior to coming to the United States, and what it is like to be here, having never planned to leave her life and dreams …read more »
Safe Space Radio talks with Fatuma Hussein of United Somali Women of Maine. She describes the challenges of resettlement for refugees fleeing war in their native countries, which she experienced herself as a teenager. She addresses the presumption that refugees have a negative impact on the state’s economy and culture, and explains her vision for …read more »
This episode of Safe Space Radio features Hussein Ahmed, a business owner in Lewiston, Maine. He describes his journey from Somalia, the ten years he spent in refugee camps in Kenya, and the challenges of finding work in the U.S. due to language barriers, cultural uncertainties and religious stereotypes. Hussein is optimistic that with modifications …read more »
Maria Padian is 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 …read more »
Mohammed Dini is 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 also explores the Somali concept of furfurnaan, which means openness, inviting an open-hearted dialogue about …read more »