On September 21, 2018, I, along with many others, were shocked and dismayed at the disgraceful handling of 500 of our fellow North Omaha neighbors, the Asian ethnic group Karen. These wonderful, loving people, come from an area sandwiched between Thailand and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Their plight is tragic because they have been victims of ethnic genocide and warfare in their own country, forced to become refugees in Thailand, in mostly isolated and overcrowded and otherwise horrible conditions. Over 400,000 Karen people are homeless, and with a few exceptions, no access to clean water, electricity, clothing and proper shelter. Most recently they are being forced to leave by the Thailand government. In the last 35 years, more than 500,000 have been resettled in the United States. Which brings us to our neighbors, located throughout the city, but mostly in north Omaha at Yale Court, formerly known as the Tommy Rose Garden Apartments. In part II, I will try to contrast their refugee status with others, who are not refugees of color, and see what we find. In Part I, I am sharing an exclusive discussion that I had on September 27, with one of my university students, who lived in Yale Court, with family, and has friends and family that lived there and were evicted. So, I am sharing Part I, my interview or discussion. In Part II, we will uncover where fault lies in their treatment and provide suggested solutions going forward. The fault is partially the performance of yet another slum lord, but there are other factors that involve agencies designated to help. To protect her privacy, the student’s name has been withheld.
Love, Preston Jr., "The New Face of North Omaha, 2018: Our Asian/Karen Neighbors, Part 1" (2018). Black Studies Faculty Publications. 72.