+

In the past year, about 85,000 refugees from around the world settled in the United States.

Each refugee undergoes a rigorous screening process that can take years to complete. That experience alone is often exhausting and all-consuming.

Once they arrive, language barriers, lack of economic opportunities, and working in and around complicated systems can make settling in a new country and community very difficult.


"[Refugees] undergo already a very long and painful life," said Chhabi Koirala, who spent 17 years in a refugee camp in Nepal. "They are very tired of being in the camp. And when they come here they see everything different. It's not always what they expect."

The Hornbakery, a group of graduate students from the University of Maryland, explored the confusion and uncertainty many refugees face in a powerful illustrated story below, titled "Amira in America."

The group consists of four women: Andrea Castillo, Carmen Collins, Liz Laribee, and Dolly Martino. "All of us had a personal interest in creating something for people who speak English as a foreign language for a variety of reasons, from experiencing migration to the U.S. firsthand to volunteering with refugees in the U.S.," explained the group in an interview.

"Amira in America" is about a Syrian girl named Amira who is adjusting to her new life in America. She shares a bond with her teacher, an immigrant from Ethiopia, who understands the hardships and isolation that Amira feels in a new land.

The Hornbakery chose to do an illustration about refugees to resonate with a diverse audience. "Pairing the story with the pictures helps get the message across more easily, especially for those who may lack literacy skills, either in English or even in their own language," they explained.

While getting started in a new place is challenging, as this story shows, there are many ways to support and empower new residents.

Koirala now works as a job coach with the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), a Portland-based nonprofit serving over 30,000 community members each year. The organization provides more than 140 linguistically and culturally specific services and resources, including academic support, community development, parenting education, English courses and more.

In his role, Koirala helps new residents secure employment. He assists with resumes, sets up interviews, and even provides transportation.

You can help refugees in your community too. In fact, Koirala has some tips.

Seek out local organizations and charities in your area, as many desperately need volunteers. Whether it's driving families to and from appointments or serving as a translator or English conversation partner. And as refugees and immigrants settle into their new routines, being a friendly and familiar face in a sea of uncertainty goes a long way. Unsure where or how to start? Koirala says, don't be afraid to speak up.

"Ask folks what they need and how you can help."

All photos courtesy of Albertsons
True

Summer is officially over, which means we’re looking for any excuse to get together and watch a game or grill outside in the cooling temperatures.

The thing about hosting though is figuring out what to feed your guests—especially with rising prices all around. And frankly, everyone is sick of pizza.

Keep ReadingShow less

Celine Dion spoke directly to her fans on social media.

Celine Dion has shared the devastating news that she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome.

In an emotional video to her fans, the 54-year-old French-Canadian singer apologized for taking so long to reach out and explained that her health struggles have been difficult to talk about.

"As you know, I have always been an open book, and I wasn't ready to say anything before. But I'm ready now."

Keep ReadingShow less

A tiger at the Endangered Animal Rescue Sanctuary and a mugshot of Joe Exotic from Santa Rosa County Jail.

Netflix’s “Tiger King” will go down in history as the collective distraction that helped America get through the dark, depressing days of early COVID-19 lockdowns. The show followed the true story of the feud between private zoo owner Joe Exotic, the self-described “gay, gun-carrying, redneck with a mullet,” and Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue.

Exotic is currently serving out a 21-year prison sentence for animal rights abuses and hiring someone to kill Baskin.

The show was a raucous look inside the world of big cat owners and brought a lot of attention to the animal abuse that runs rampant in the industry. The light it shed on the industry was so bright it led Congress to take action. The Senate unanimously passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act on December 6. The House had already passed the bill in July.

The White House has signaled that President Biden will sign the bill into law.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

Keep ReadingShow less

Tenacious D performs at the Rock in Pott festival.

The medley that closes out the second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album is one of the most impressive displays of musicianship in the band’s storied career. It also provided the perfect send-off before the band’s official breakup months later, ending with the lyrics, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

In 1969, “Abbey Road” was the last record the group made together, although “Let it Be,” recorded earlier that year, was released in 1970.

At first, the medley was just a clever way for the band to use a handful of half-finished tunes, but when it came together it was a rousing, grandiose affair.

Arranged by Paul McCartney and producer George Martin, the medley weaves together five songs written by McCartney, "You Never Give Me Your Money," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight” and "The End," and three by John Lennon, “Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam."

Fifteen seconds after the medley and the album’s conclusion, there is a surprise treat, McCartney’s 22-second “Her Majesty,” which wound up on the record as an accident.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass, collectively known as Tenacious D, recently reimagined two of the songs in the medley, "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "The End," for acoustic guitars for a performance on SiriusXM's Octane Channel. Like everything with Tenacious D, it showed off the duo’s impressive musical chops as well as their fantastic sense of humor.

The truncated version of the medley was also a wonderful tribute to the incredible work the Beatles did 53 years ago.

Warning: This video contains NSFW language.