This Week on One Detroit:
As tensions have risen in Afghanistan over the last several months, more than a thousand Afghan refugees are expected to seek shelter in parts of Michigan including the state’s west side, Lansing and Ypsilanti as more Afghanistan families evacuate their Middle Eastern homes to begin new lives.
PBS NewsHour Community Correspondent Frances Kai-Hwa Wang reports from Eastern Michigan University’s campus in Ypsilanti, where Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County has been helping coordinate the refugees’ arrivals and housing with the help of Eastern Michigan University students.
As United States military forces departed from Afghanistan after 20 years, ending one of the longest wars in U.S. history, Taliban militia members quickly took a hold of the country’s major cities, forcing many Afghans to flee their homes for safer stays elsewhere. Kabul, where Afghanistan journalist and 2019 Knight-Wallace Fellow Jawad Sukhanyar lived and fled from, was the last city to fall. Sukhanyar currently resides in Ann Arbor as a journalist-in-residence at the University of Michigan.
Now, months after his harrowing departure from his home country, Jawad sits down with One Detroit Associate Producer Will Glover for an in-depth conversation about the sacrifices he and his family made in their fight to get to America, as well as why he wanted to resettle in Michigan and the conflicting emotions he has about the possibility of someday returning to his now-former home.
Michigan has a long history of acceptance and support for refugees hoping to resettle in the state, but just what cultural, economic, and population-based impacts have these immigrants brought to their new homes? One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota took a trip to the state’s capital, Lansing, to examine the state of immigration in Michigan today and the changes we’ve seen to refugee resettlement over the past 20 years.
Kubota meets with Refugee Development Center Executive Director Erika Brown-Binion to talk about some of the refugees her organization helps resettle in the mid-Michigan area, like Yohana Ferra, a Cuban immigrant who now owns and operates a Cuban food truck in Lansing’s Old Town. Then, he has a conversation with Steve Tobocman, Executive Director of Global Detroit, and Demographer and Data Driven Detroit Founder Kurt Metzger detailing how immigrant resettlement has driven positive growth in Michigan’s population and economy. Plus, resettled refugees in Lansing and Warren share their perspectives on moving to Michigan and fostering new ethnic communities together.
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Watch One Detroit every Monday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET on Detroit Public TV on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.