October 6th, 2012  |  By Round Earth Media

Salvadoran Killed While Waiting On US Immigration Papers

The Garcia Family | Photo courtesy of Alyssa Garcia

Some years ago, Charlie Garcia came to the United States illegally and married an American citizen. Then the Salvadoran decided to try to legalize his immigration status. He went back to El Salvador to file his paperwork, as required. Tragically, he was killed there, waiting for his paperwork to come through.

This story was broadcast in English on National Public Radio in the United States and in Spanish in El Salvador in ContraPunto. Eric Lemus contributed to the story published in El Salvador.


April 29th, 2012  |  By Mary Stucky

From Music to Migration in Morocco

Mariah Carey is slated to perform at the Mawazine Music Festival in Rabat

We are partnering in Morocco with some brilliant academics —  two with whom we’re working most closely are Said Graiouid and Taieb Belghazi. They invited me to participate in a fascinating conference recently at the University Mohammed V in Rabat.  Researchers came from around the world to discuss topics ranging from Moroccan hip hop, to racism against Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco, to the importance of Moroccan music festivals.

Here’s just a taste.

Moroccan Music Festivals

Everywhere one turns in Rabat these days, there are billboards advertising next month’s block-buster Mawazine Music Festival (featuring big stars like Mariah Carey along with lesser-known luminaries). Urban spaces in Morocco have long been controlled and exploited by the State but now, for some observors, music festivals have given a great portion of that urban space back to the people. On the other hand, some Moroccans say they plan to protest the Mawazine Festival in particular, arguing that the State sponsors expensive festivals (which are usually free of charge to those who attend) in order to placate and distract Moroccans from the very real social, economic and political problems facing them. Researcher Moulay Driss El Maarouf shed light on “the urban dynamics of power and  counter-power in Moroccan music festivals.”


September 11th, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media


For Kunrath Lam, the most special occasion for eating plear - this Cambodian beef salad - came after the murderous Khmer Rouge was finally driven out of power. | Photo by Mary Stucky

When Kunrath Lam was just a little girl she endured one of the most brutal regimes the world has ever known. Nearly 2 million Cambodians died during the reign of the Communist Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Kunrath Lam and her parents somehow managed to survive – though her childhood was one of intense deprivation. Lam used to dream of the delicious meals her grandmother had prepared for her in happier times. Lam’s absolute favorite– plear salad. Now, in the new country she calls home, Lam makes plear for customers at her restaurant in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mary Stucky paid her a visit. Her story appeared in World Vision Report.

September 11th, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media

Goat Cutlet

Jamal Hashi shows off the goat stew his mother taught him to make years ago. | Photo by Mary Stucky

Throughout East Africa, goat is a traditional source of both meat and milk. When he was a boy in Somalia, Jamal Hashi spent his summers herding goats on his family’s farm.   Now, he’s in the United States,  introducing Americans to Somali delicacies – including goat — at his restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Mary Stucky visited Jamal Hashi as he prepared roasted goat cutlet with vegetables in a special sauce – a dish he says his mother served on special occasions in Somalia.

August 7th, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media

Dual Identity and the Liberian-Minnesotan Experience

Tamia Dakinah is Miss Liberia Minnesota. | Photo: Facebook, Miss Liberia MN Beauty Pageant

To make other cultures real through vivid first-hand stories and to explain the connections between “us” and “them” – that’s our goal here at Round Earth Media, and Linda Sjostrom, our web editor, understands it well. Linda has spent time reporting and editing for print and radio both in the United States and abroad. Here, a recent event prompts her to not only reflect on a story she covered in the past, but to also consider identity.

Just last month, a crowd gathered at the Miracle Empowerment Center to witness the crowning of Tamia Dakinah as Miss Liberia Minnesota 2010. In the same way, others across the country have or will name someone the Miss Liberia of their own state this year.

The title is, to me, an interesting one. Many of us are familiar with pageants like ‘Miss Minnesota’ and ‘Miss USA’ – roles that dub their bearers as representatives of one singular place. The title I’m thinking about now seems to hold quite a different meaning. Miss Liberia Minnesota. A representative – a part – of not one area, but two.

As I think this over, I think of the tens of thousands of people who are Liberian in my own state. What does it mean to identify as Liberian? What does it mean to identify as Minnesotan? And how do those dual roles play into each other, and into all of the other roles that encompass daily life?


February 1st, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media

The Taste of Freedom

Rodwan Nakshabandi became well-known for his cooking in a refugee camp before opening his St. Paul restaurant. | Photo by JoAnn Verburg

Rodwan Nakshabandi | © JoAnn Verburg

These five restaurateurs survived war, genocide, and long journeys to bring their native cuisine to the Twin Cities.


January 1st, 2010  |  By Mary Stucky

Questions for Ambar Espinoza

former gang membersHow horrifying to live in a country where one must believe these telephone calls and do what the caller demands. The situation is different in Nicaragua where we interviewed former gang members in Managua (photo left). About El Salvador, three essential questions arise.


December 31st, 2009  |  By Mary Stucky

From El Salvador: What has changed and what has not

Ambar Espinoza, one of the journalists mentored by Round Earth, is in El Salvador. Here are her reflections from her first afternoon back in the country of her birth after many years.


November 4th, 2009  |  By Round Earth Media

Crossing East

The Chinese Teahouse restaurant in Plymouth, MN.  |  Photo: Mary Stucky

The Chinese Teahouse restaurant in Plymouth, MN. | Photo by Mary Stucky

Mary Stucky is proud to have been a contributing producer to this Peabody award-winning documentary series about the history of Asian-American immigration to the United States.


June 1st, 2007  |  By Round Earth Media

A Walnut Grove Welcome

A Hmong home in Walnut Grove.

A Hmong home in Walnut Grove. | Photo by Mary Stucky

Walnut Grove, Minnesota was the real life setting for the TV series “Little House on the Prairie.” But its population and business community was eroding until Hmong refugees from Laos showed up. They received such a friendly reception in Walnut Grove others followed. Now Hmong refugees make up a third of the town’s population. And Walnut Grove is prospering and growing. (more…)

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