Karen community living in Minnesota, U.S. will call for equal rights to education like other races at the Minnesota Capitol on June 15.
Speaking to the Karen News on June 14, the Karen Community of Minnesota (KCM) leader Morrison Johnny said the KCM will lead the Karen Advocacy Day and demand to meet with state government officials.
“We will collect the information of the Karen students and submit their weaknesses so that the government will know in which areas they can assist us. We will demand [the government] to hire more teacher assistants in accordance with student-teacher ratio and allow us to establish a Karen private school in the next five to seven years,” he said.
He continued that they will also demand the government to increase the number of Karen student enrollment in college and allow them to officially teach Karen literature, culture, and dance when the Karen private school is established.
The Karen people living in the U.S. have only been able to occasionally teach their literature, language, and tradition and culture at the churches, Buddhist monasteries, and places relating to Karen organizations.
KCM officials said the number of Karen students enrolled in college in the U.S. is extremely low due to lack of qualification and finance and having to work in their parents’ workplaces in order to make a living.
Besides the Karen education sector, the Karen community also aims to stop the civil war in Myanmar and join the Karen Day event in Washington, D.C on June 18.
“The Karen children are weak in education. They don’t receive much support from school. They are stuck. Karen literature and culture should be taught to them through a program. Only then can they solve the children’s education, social, and health issues. I will take part in the demand from the government,” said Saw Ma Lit, a Karen Don dance teacher from Minnesota.
Around 70,000 Karen people are living in the U.S. and Minnesota alone is home to around 20,000 Karen people. Most of the Karen people migrated to the U.S. from the refugee camps at the Thai-Myanmar border under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)’s third country resettlement program.
The Karen Community of Minnesota (MCM) was established by some Karen leaders residing in Minnesota including the late Mann Robert Ba Zan in 2003.