Stories

How an annual soccer tournament brings together Vermont’s farmworker community

August 17, 2022

It’s a sunny summer Saturday at the Tree Farm in Essex Junction, Vermont. A sign announcing “¡Torneo de Fútbol!” greets drivers arriving at the park. Soccer nets sit at either end of five, bright green fields. A crowd gathers as Mexican pop artist Natalia Lafourcade plays over the loudspeakers. Today’s emcee is Migrant Justice field…

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August 8, 2022

On a recent morning in downtown Portland, a woman named Vitoria was waiting at a bus stop on Congress Street. Vitoria is an asylum-seeker from Angola, who arrived in Maine just a few weeks ago with her husband and two young children. On this day, she was trying to find her way to one of…

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How a Vietnamese priest brought the first Asian night market to this Conn. town

June 14, 2022

Father Andy Mai strolled through stalls of vendors amid a bustling night market in West Hartford, Conn. Bowls of noodles, sizzling meat on skewers and deep-fried seafood pancakes attracted hungry neighbors and visitors from all over the state. “Everything is so good, you have to try everything!” Mai said with a laugh. Mai is the…

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Picketers call on Hannaford Supermarkets to support migrant dairy workers

May 2, 2022

The group Migrant Justice picketed at Hannaford Supermarkets Sunday to call for human rights for dairy farm workers. Migrant Justice created the Milk with Dignity Program to address low pay, poor conditions, and human rights violations in the dairy industry. The group, for years, has been asking Hannaford to join Milk with Dignity, and the…

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Mashan Manahe, left, transfers a meat dish from the stove while his wife, Zainab, makes a salad and their two sons, Omar and Nasir, get plates out of the cabinet. The Manahe family enjoys a variety of specialty food during Ramadan, including dates, sambousas, and sweets.

Muslim Mainers welcome Ramadan, a month of prayer, daily fasting, and community

April 1, 2022

On a recent evening, Zainab Manahe was frying sambousas over a grill set up in the garage at her home in Gorham, Maine. The small, meat-filled pastries sizzling in the pan are a staple at her family’s dinner table during the month of Ramadan. Speaking in Arabic while her son Nasir interpreted, Zainab explained that…

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Massachusetts to welcome first Ukrainian refugees next week

March 30, 2022

Massachusetts is preparing to welcome its first Ukrainian family of refugees next week. Governor Charlie Baker says the state should be ready to resettle evacuees fleeing what the United Nations calls Europe’s largest refugee crisis of the century. The state Senate earmarked $10 million to support international evacuees, including Ukrainians, earlier this month. Baker said…

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Evictions could top pre-COVID numbers, hit vulnerable communities hardest

March 24, 2022

Victor and Amilbia came to this country, like many other migrants, to find better opportunities for themselves and their future family. So never in their wildest dreams did they think their American dream would include facing eviction. The family of seven, who asked that only their first names be used because the parents are undocumented,…

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Raj Paik lifts his nine-month-old son Siraj after getting home from work.

Visa renewal backlogs leave some Mass. workers torn between work and family

March 15, 2022

Dr. Rajandeep Singh Paik wants to celebrate his son’s first birthday in his hometown in India. COVID-19 cases are dropping. Cities are loosening mask mandates. People are planning vacations and traveling internationally again. However, Paik, who lives in South Boston, cannot leave the United States because he wouldn’t be allowed to come back on his…

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Gissela Yanez in her first day of English classes at Saint Augustine Parish Hall in Manchester, N.H.

N.H. immigrants prosper inside English classes in wake of labor shortage

February 9, 2022

Gissela Yanez arrived pregnant from Peru in New Hampshire in 2020. She has a college degree and was a physical therapist back in Peru. But here she cleans houses. She found the job quickly, and she said it makes her feel disappointed in her abilities. She knows she can do more. Like many new immigrants,…

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Sensei Papy Bongibo, center, and sensei Francis Bola, in blue, observe as students practice judo drills. Many students said Bongibo's standing in the community encouraged them to join the class.

Congolese community leader draws African immigrants to Maine judo program

January 21, 2022

Papy Bangibo is the president of the Congolese Community of Maine. But when he steps onto the mat at Fournier’s Leadership Karate Center in Westbrook, he goes by a different title — sensei. Bongibo is a third-degree black belt in judo, the Japanese martial art with a name that means “the gentle way.” Rather than…

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