For about three months in late 2013, I worked hard to help promote, design, edit and produce a start-up community newspaper in Clarkston, GA, called The Broadway. The newspaper was started by Bhutanese refugee youth with the goal of providing information and resources for the multicultural communities in Clarkston. The paper was distributed in hard-copy form to the Clarkston Community Center and the Clarkston Public Library, as well as to various local non-profit community agencies. The paper was also distributed online, via e-mail. Give it a look!
Below is a PDF link to one issue of the paper, in which I interviewed the three leading mayoral candidates for the city election in November 2013. The issue also includes a review of a play based on the city of Clarkston called Third Country, produced by the Atlanta non-profit theatre company Horizon Theatre.
Tranquility or Transition
The culminating project of my Advanced Reporting class in my senior year, this long-form article appeared in the student newspaper in Feb. 2o10. It explored the ongoing tension surrounding a Kansas Dept. of Transportation plan to build a highway through the Wakarusa Wetlands, an area considered sacred by people in the Haskell Indian Nations University. The story details a painful history of cultural assimilation that occurred in the school, and explaing the significance of the wetlands in First Nations history.
The boarding school was organized like a military camp, and students who tried to run away were called deserters. Successful deserters were hunted by bounty hunters and, when returned to the campus, were beaten or sent to a tiny prison building.
“You’re talking about a history that’s horrendous,” Haines said. “If people sat down and looked at it, they would say, ‘This happened in America?’ I was suppression, repression, cultural genocide. It was like anything else- if someone was in your way, you’d get rid of them.
Aye Aye Nu at Juniper Gardens
This profile piece came from an interview with an urban farmer, to correspond with an audio podcast I helped edit. I recorded our interview with a refugee farmer named Aye Aye Nu, and tried to pick her best quotes to communicate her resilient and hopeful spirit.
Aye Aye Nu works at Juniper Gardens, where 125 units of public housing stood only five years ago. She is one of about 120,000 displaced Karen, an embattled Southeast Asian ethnic group, who fled their home countries last year to refugee camps on the border of Burma and Thailand. Thanks to a program called New Roots for Refugees, she now lives in Kansas City with her husband and her 9-year-old son, Nito.
She and 30 other refugees from countries as diverse as Burundi, Somalia and Sudan farm plots on three-quarters of an acre of urban land, near the train tracks, in a seemingly abandoned area of Kansas City, Ks. They keep 80 percent of the profits and save 20 percent for the next year, all while taking classes in English and business development provided by Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.