Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

By Anisa Hajimumin
Assistant Commissioner for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs 

Safety and Protection Resources Were Focus of March Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Forum

 


March’s Immigrant and Refugee Forum held a thoughtful discussion focused on safety and protection resources available to community members. The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) hosts these forums the first Tuesday of every month to bring together immigrant and refugee community advocates, business owners, elders and leaders. Participants listened to representatives from the Department of Public Safety, Minnesota law enforcement and the Minnesota National Guard give updates on driver's license renewal deadlines, resources for crime victims, and an overview on the preparations in place to protect businesses and community members as the Derek Chauvin trial unfolds.

Driver and Vehicle Services Update

Director of Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) Emma Corrie gave a reminder that the forgiveness deadline on driver’s license renewals ends on March 31. Certain DVS exam stations have extended their hours and are now open each Saturday starting Feb. 20 through March 27 to serve Minnesotans who need to renew their expiring driver’s licenses. These offices will be open 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and no appointments are required. More info is available on the Department of Public Safety website.

Resources for Crime Victims

Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Director Kate Weeks shared her work in supporting crime victims throughout Minnesota. She discussed crime victims’ rights during the criminal justice process and how their team works to make sure those rights are honored and people know about them. She also mentioned Day One services which is a centralized hotline for victims who need help connecting to local resources. She also explained how their office can give financial support to victims of violent crime who have sustained an economic loss. This support can cover things such as funeral costs, medical and mental health treatment, and wage loss. You can find more information about crime victim resources on their website including brochures translated into Hmong, Somali and Spanish.

Information for Families in an Officer-Involved Use-of-Deadly-Force Incident

Biiftuu Adam from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) spoke on her role as a BCA Victim, Family and Community Relations Coordinator. She is the primary contact for affected families during a BCA investigation of an officer use-of-force incident. Adam explains to families the BCA investigative processes, provides status updates during the investigation and notifies them about the county attorney’s decision in the case. Her goal is to make sure families are kept in the loop during the legal process and have ample support during this difficult time in their lives. You can find more info about her role here.

Operation Safety Net Overview

DPS Community Affairs Director Nicole Archbold gave an overview of Operation Safety Net which is multi-agency security plan surrounding the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. This plan was established to ensure everyone can safely have their voices heard and that people and property are protected. Archbold is working with her counterparts across the metro to share updates and answer questions from businesses and community members on what will impact them directly in the coming weeks and months. She encourages the public to follow their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube channels for the latest info.

Lt. Colonel Colin Fleming spoke on the Minnesota National Guard’s role during this initiative. He explained they’re not a law enforcement agency but are extra help for the Minnesota State Patrol and Minneapolis/St. Paul Police Departments. The National Guard does not work with immigration enforcement agencies. He also mentioned that over 500 people in the National Guard live near Lake Street and around the metro where civil unrest took place last summer, so they are personally invested in keeping communities safe. The hope is that this proactive approach of Operation Safety Net will help provide the community with a sense of comfort and ease anxieties as the community navigates through this time and beyond.

DPS also wants Minnesotans to be clear about what types of activities are encouraged and what types of activities are unlawful surrounding this trial. Archbold shared examples of those activities below:

Encouraged Activities

• Peaceful assembly

• Marching (not on a freeway)

• Making your voice heard

• Exercising constitutional rights

• Remaining in public areas

• Signs and other peaceful expressions

• Assembling in designated areas

Unlawful Activities

• Protesting on or entering a freeway as a pedestrian

• Throwing objects

• Setting a fire of any kind

• Damaging property or graffiti

• Use of illegal fireworks

• Display or use of illegal weapons

• Reckless driving, especially near pedestrians

Immigrant and refugee community leaders are encouraged to reach out to me, Assistant Commissioner Anisa Hajimumin, if they wish to hold a separate meeting with the Department of Public Safety to discuss further what communities with language barriers should know. Please email me at anisa.hajimumin@state.mn.us.

Next month’s forum on Tuesday, April 6th will focus on technology jobs and the opportunities available to immigrant and refugee professionals who are career seekers and who wish to learn more about this exciting and growing industry.

 

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