Here is a story from Garden City, Kansas (one of many we receive from that refugee resettlement city) about Burmese refugees resettled there and arriving as secondary migrants (Tysons meat is probably enticing them). There is nothing earth shattering in the story, but it made me think about ethnic organizing. We have the Spring Institute sending someone to Garden City to talk to refugees about “organizing” which seems to be the news-hook for the story.
We’ve reported on the Spring Institute before (here and here where they participated in a pro-amnesty March on America). They are one of those quasi-government agencies that everyone pretends is a non-profit. You know a “charitable” organization living off the taxpayer’s forced charity. If you check out their most recent available Form 990 (here) you will see that out of a total income of $1,873,526, 70% ($1,131,921) comes from you, the taxpayer, as “government grants.” I wonder if they used taxpayer money to support the March on America?
So, here they are in Garden City encouraging Burmese to “organize.” Community organize, like ACORN? Are we going to have different organizations for different ethnic groups of Burmese? Are we organizing to get stuff? Organizing for political purposes? Organizing to demand their ethnic groups’ rights? What? You know this is an example of the difference between today’s immigrants and those of fifty years ago. Where I grew up we had German immigrants in our town and they got together over coffee and shared German language magazines and strudel recipes, but they were in a hurry to learn English and never dreamed of forming political organizations to demand their rights as Germans to stuff— to taxpayer-funded goodies.
Bathin [Drucie Bathin of the Spring Institute], who visited with community leaders from the Karen people from Burma and some local refugee and law enforcement officials during an informal gathering Friday at Grace Bible Church, 2595 N. Jennie Barker Road, said she would like to see the few hundred estimated members of Garden City’s Karen community organize. Many still need assistance to communicate with various social service agencies, and many others do not speak English, she said.
“You have a ticket to come to the U.S., but you don’t have a ticket to go back,” Bathin said. “We should come together because we have the freedom to do so, and something we did not have back in Burma.”
Organizing as the “Burmese people” is a misnomer, Bathin said, because many of the ethnic tribes in Burma are linguistically and culturally different; each typically have their own languages, states and flags. For the Karen people, the national Burmese language is typically second to their native Tibeto-Burman language, as well.
And, why is an employee of Tysons meats encouraging “organizing?” Makes me think he is a union guy.
For nearly four years now, some representatives from ethnic Burmese tribes have been organizing at an annul picnic, an initiative spearheaded by Jonathan Galia, a chaplain at the Finney County Tyson Fresh Meats beef packing plant.
“They may sit together in a meeting but may not work together. It’s been quite a struggle because the loyalty to their own (ethnic) groups is so strong,” Galia said. “I think they will eventually be moving towards organizing their own groups, and if they see value in that, maybe they will. But where they want to take it is up to them.”
So, again, are we encouraging organizing around ethnicity? Even around tribes? Wouldn’t everyone be better off if refugees and immigrants are encouraged to hop into our vaunted melting pot and become Americans?