Endorsements

“This volume carefully but vividly offers us just a few of the powerful stories of Minnesota’s 70,000 refugees. In order to continue to be the welcoming land that we strive to be, all Minnesotans must listen attentively to the expressions — often subtle and sometimes unspoken — of sorrow and hope in these stories and allow them to guide our efforts to alleviate suffering and open new pathways to prosperity and peace.” – Mayor R.T. Rybak, City of Minneapolis

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“This excellent compilation of the stories of our newest Americans is a study in deprivation, struggle, faith, and the power of the human spirit. I applaud the Minnesota Council of Churches for undertaking this effort in order to share these powerful tales. They serve to instruct us, to educate us. The storytellers overcame great adversity in their lives to become American citizens. May we learn from their courage and strength.” – Congressman Keith Ellison.

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“It is only in hearing another’s story that we get to experience their true reality. We have much to learn from our brothers and sisters who are refugees. This Much I Can Tell You is a wonderful collection of such stories.” -Bishop Brian Prior, Episcopal Church of Minnesota.

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“While these stories have been untold up until now, we are fortunate to read them here. They are remarkable. They speak to the bravery, determination, and shared sacrifices of men and women in pursuit of freedom and their dreams. They demonstrate the generosity that exists in families and communities, especially in the worst of situations. This Much I Can Tell You vividly captures how these lives start from ordinary and simple beginnings and journey through extraordinary hardships, only to be aided by families and new-found friends, and sustained by faith and hope. “This Much I Can Tell You” provides an unconditional assurance as these women and men become our next door neighbors, co-workers and trusted friends in the re-shaping of Minnesota and our country. I applaud MCC for this wonderful project and for writing these stories with care and utmost respect.” -Gus Avenido, Refugee State Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Human Services.

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“Our stories are sacred, without them we forget who we are. All respect to the brave beings who survived hells of brutality…and lived to tell us. Bless the messengers in this book; their words can knit our torn and fragmented humanity back together again. Thank you, how can we truly function as a community without knowing one another’s stories?”- Julia Dinsmore, Twin Cities Grandmother, Educator, Artist, Cultural Worker, Author.

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“Here we have stories about our own neighbors who have endured much in coming to this country–leaving their own nation states, land, houses, families and friends because of the extreme conditions of oppression, persecution and warfare that they faced. In these stories we find people with the same hopes that we have for ourselves and families. These stories help us appreciate what refugees have lost and yet what they contribute to our communities when they come here. Beware! These stories will open your heart and your mind toward your neighbor!” Sally Dyck, Resident Bishop of Minnesota, The United Methodist Church.

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“The moving accounts of uprooted people from around the world embracing opportunities to rebuild their lives in Minnesota shared in this volume remind us why we are so committed to refugee resettlement and to a partnership with our affiliate, MCC Refugee Services. We hope these stories of hardship endured and hope sustained will compel readers everywhere to join us in embracing the gifts of our new neighbors.” – Deborah Stein, Director of Episcopal Migration Ministries.

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“This Much I Can Tell You is an important contribution to Minnesota—and United States—history. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in history, political affairs and humanities. The Minnesota Council of Churches Refugee Services has done well to document the personal stories of new Americans the agency has helped resettle from around the world. It has done even better to use the words of the refugees themselves. The stories are not always neat and straightforward. Readers might not agree with all of the opinions that are expressed. That’s beside the point. What’s most important here is that we listen with open minds to refugees’ stories in their own words, uncensored, the way they remember them and the way they see them.

This Much I Can Tell You is a testimony to the suffering and courage of refugees from around the world. Theirs are the stories of persecution, desperation, hope and human triumph. This collection serves as a reminder that we live in an interconnected world and that geographic and political distances have shrunk. These survivors of conflict and persecution now literally live next door to us, reminding us the “distant” world is close. This collection also is a testimony to America and its people, and to its ongoing commitment to open its doors to the world’s most oppressed and to continue to weave today’s refugees into the rich fabric of our nation.” –Erol Kekic, Director of Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program

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“Many of the stories in this profound, haunted, beautiful book seem too hard to read, too hard to bear. But for just this reason they are also potentially transformative and thrillingly redemptive, even magical. The magic lies in the emergence, as one is reading these stories, of something profoundly the opposite of what the stories themselves describe. Refugees have suffered from war and violence so depraved it can seem surreal. These are the stories of this book and thus one may veer from shock to disgust to disbelief before a surprising turn of the heart occurs. It dawns that a human being has survived all of this butchery and evil and is telling his or her story. What this says about the potential of humanity, and about the immensely courageous refugees living now in Minnesota, surpasses the power of words to tell. That power though is the heart and soul of this book and if one had to choose one word to name that power, one would surely have to call it love.” – Doug McGill, journalist, author, teacher and founder of The McGill Report.

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“In This Much I Can Tell You, unsung heroes share their poignant stories of survival and triumph of the human spirit, offering a deeply humbling experience to Minnesotans who care to witness the depth of courage and strength of character of some of our newest neighbors.” – Linda Glaser, author of Bridge to America, Based on a True Story; and Emma’s Poem, The Voice of the Statue of Liberty.

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“In This Much I can tell You, refugees detail their experiences, hardship and dreams as they trek towards their new world. The stories in this book capture important details of refugees from diverse backgrounds in their own voices. Existing narratives on refugees in Minnesota are enhanced by this important work and each story puts a human face to the challenges refugees encounter.” – Yasmeen Maxamuud, author of Nomad Diaries.

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