More on the Burmese situation in Pittsburgh, PA

These community organizers in the Pittsburgh area have really latched on to the unhappy circumstances of a group of Burmese refugees (I’m not sure they are all Christian Karen, so I’ll use ‘Burmese’ to describe the refugees) we reported on here, here and here recently.   And, be sure to see Madeleine’s column here for more on the Karen.

This is obviously an opinion piece by Patricia O’Malley that begins:

Today [Dec. 10] is International Human Rights Day. It marks the 61st anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on December 10, 1948. The declaration recognizes that all people – including you – possess certain absolute human rights and that we all must protect those rights. Every nation in the world has since accepted its principles of justice and equality for each of us. Unfortunately, fifty Burmese Karen refugee families in Pittsburgh feel that those rights have eluded them.

About their resettlement to the Pittsburgh area:

The families’ relocation to Pittsburgh was arranged and hosted by Catholic Charities and the Jewish Family and Children’s Service. They feel that they’ve been abandoned on that front, too. While both agencies have extensive track records in refugee resettlement, the programs just aren’t working this time. The Karen feel that they need more substantial help, for a longer time period, than the agencies provide. This is not the typical refugee situation. The Karen people have little or no formal education, even in their own language. It’s especially difficult to learn English. They face much greater hurdles in adapting to middle-class urban American life than other recent refugees from more developed areas of the world. They need more help in learning to navigate in an urban society.

Ms. O’Malley describes the work conditions and the strike at the W & K Steel plant.  And, note below I’ve posted a comment from a refugee named Bhanu about his work day.

Then here come the “community organizers” which I am very leary of because of all we have learned about the goals of the far left, especially unions, in destablizing communities and using immigrants as pawns for a political agenda.  The word “Justice” in their title tips us off to a socialist-backed initiative.

The Three Rivers Coalition for Justice, a loose-knit group of organizations, is working on behalf of the Karen. Their specific complaints were detailed in a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.

According to Ms. O’Malley, other agencies do a better job.  Maybe!  Sometimes!

Church World Service operates refugee resettlement programs in 27 U.S. cities, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, Dallas, Omaha, Atlanta, and Indianapolis. Hler Paw, a Karen refugee who speaks excellent English and serves as a translator for his neighbors, keeps in touch with Karen friends that he met in the refugee camp in Thailand. His friends have settled in some of those locations with the help of Church World Service and are thriving. They’re very pleased with the reception from the communities and the services from their hosts.

A comment from refugee Bhanu (who doesn’t appear to have an English language problem) to us at this post:

We really appreciate the above statements. Everything is true regarding Refugees’ case in pittsburgh. We are treated like slaves brought for dirty works. Our resettlement agencies force us to work where they want. They don’t care about the working condition and travelling distance.
Catholice Charity and Jewish Family place our refugees to a job which is very good. But to work from 8 to 4:30, our schedule must be like this:

get up: 3 am
get into bus: 4 am
drive 2 zones bus paying 90 $ for buss pass and get to located place and wait for 30 mins for next bus in this snow.
get into bus at 7 and get to work at 8 am

get back from work at 4:30,
drive for 1 hour
wait for 30 mins for bus.
get into another bus and wait for 3rd bus for 30 mins
and finally get home at 8 pm

from 3 am to 8 pm to get paid for 8 hours

do u like to see earnings per month.
$8/hour – $64/day
$64 x 20 = $1280 gross pay. Net pa if married: $1120

House rent: $550
Food: : $300/month
cloth and other
daily items: 100
electricity: $30
Telephone: $30
Bus pass: $90
Travel loan: $50
Insurence: $50

Can you guess, what is our condition ?

great job. Thanks to USA.

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