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Friday, July 25, 2014
Somalian refugees

A series of stories about the impact of Somalian refugees on Bedford County.

U.S. official discusses refugee bill with Tracy (02/12/12)
A top representative of the U.S. State Department was in Tennessee this week to discuss a law dealing with the state's refugee resettlement program. The Refugee Absorptive Capacity Act, which originated from the desk of State Sen. Jim Tracy, became law last July. It's the first bill of its kind...
Tracy refugee bill attacked by rights group (07/03/11)
A bill that originated from the desk of State Sen. Jim Tracy has been signed into law that would make sure that local communities would be able to absorb refugees. But a state immigrant rights group has blasted the new measure, calling it an "unprecedented attack on refugees."...
Documentary to show in Nashville (05/13/11)
Residents of Shelbyville have another opportunity to see the documentary "Welcome to Shelbyville" Saturday afternoon when it is screened at the Nashville Public Library. The documentary is scheduled for more than 60 screenings across the country this month before it debuts on National Public Television's Emmy Award-winning series "Independent Lens" on Tuesday, May 24. Nashville Public Television has scheduled it at 9 p.m...
Heavy load of bills on Tracy's plate (02/22/11)
Evaluating refugee resettlement, training requirements for sheriffs, and drug testing those taking government benefits is just a small sample of proposed bills introduced this year by State Sen. Jim Tracy. With the 107th General Assembly now in session, over 2,000 pieces of legislation have been filed so far after last Thursday's deadline expired for bills to be introduced...
Tyson denies death threat (12/30/10)
A Tyson Foods spokesperson stated Wednesday that while graffiti was recently discovered at their Shelbyville facility, media reports about the details are not factual. However the spokesman also stated that federal authorities have been contacted about the matter...
Police boost Tyson security following alleged message (12/28/10)
Shelbyville police are providing an armed off-duty officer for the Tyson Foods facility after alleged threatening messages reportedly were made last week. Last Thursday, Nashville television station WSMV reported claims made by an unidentified woman that someone wrote "all Americans must die" on a bathroom wall -- an act that was reportedly preceded by a fire in a woman's rest room inside the plant a week before...
Movie, wreck make news in 2010 (12/26/10)
A documentary about Shelbyville and a tragic traffic accident begin the Times-Gazette's annual countdown of the biggest news stories of 2010. Our list was compiled by a poll of 10 T-G staff members, each of whom ranked his or her top 10 stories from a list of 26 possibilities; next week, we'll give you a chance to compare your own choices to ours...
Documentary has local public premiere (10/15/10)
"Welcome to Shelbyville," the documentary about local response to Somali immigration, will be screened for the public at 2 p.m. Sunday at Shelbyville Central High School, one of numerous screenings being conducted this month. There is no admission charge, and director Kim Snyder will be present to discuss the film...
Somali gangs linked to sex ring (09/24/10)
MINNEAPOLIS -- Authorities are looking for suspects and potential victims in a Minnesota-based prostitution ring allegedly linked to Somali gangs that stretches to Tennessee, according to a search warrant affidavit briefly unsealed in state court in St. Paul...
Movie screening held (09/14/10)
Shelbyville is focus of new documentary (09/02/10)
A new documentary about Shelbyville, and its peaceful response to Somali immigration, will be screened for community leaders in Shelbyville on Sept. 12, and tentative plans are to have a public screening in October. The documentary, "Welcome to Shelbyville," will be screened at the Brookings Institution in Washington on Sept. 15 and will air on PBS stations nationwide next spring, as part of the series "Independent Lens." It was directed by Kim Snyder...
Somali culture explained at Shelbyville forum (04/24/09)
A forum was hosted last Sunday about the Somali culture in an effort to educate the community about Shelbyville's newest residents. Leaders of the Somali community, along with El Centro Latino, Save Our Cumberland Mountains, Nashville Public Television and the Welcoming Tennessee Initiative, organized this event "to address the growing concerns and misunderstandings within the city."...
T-G writer interviewed for '700 Club' (03/13/09)
The presence of Somali refugees in Bedford County and the culture clashes that have resulted from it have been the focus of several award-winning articles in the Times-Gazette. In recent months, the issue has garnered national attention. T-G staff writer Brian Mosely, who won the state Associated Press Managing Editors' Malcolm Law Investigative Reporting Award for a December, 2007, series on the Somalis, was interviewed last week by Erick Stakelbeck, correspondent and terrorism analyst for both the Christian Broadcast Network and Fox News.. ...
Somalis, Hispanics find common ground (01/19/09)
With documentary cameras rolling, members of Shelbyville's Somali community met with Hispanic residents and the T-G to talk about living in Tennessee, as well as some of the problems they have encountered, such as eviction from a local apartment complex...
Refugee program stayed after feds confirm fraud (11/16/08)
A fact sheet released this week from the U.S. State Department reported widespread fraud in the refugee program that has brought tens of thousands of people from Somalia and other African nations to the United States. The reported fraud spurred the State Department to suspend a humanitarian program in August which was supposed to reunite African "anchor" refugees already in the states with their family members who are still overseas...
Refugees' impact being documented (11/07/08)
A crew from Chicago has been in Shelbyville for the past week shooting footage for a documentary focusing on the impact that immigration and refugees are having on the community. The project is headed by director/producer Kim Snyder, who works with the BeCause Foundation, an organization created by Richard Kincade, the former president and chief executive officer of Equity Office Properties Trust (EOP)...
Tyson workers revote; Labor Day brought back (08/08/08)
Members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and Tyson Foods workers at the poultry processing plant in Shelbyville overwhelmingly voted to overturn a union contract provision that replaced Labor Day as a paid holiday with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, it was announced this morning...
Union takes step down slippery slope (08/07/08)
The recent announcement by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union that its new contract with Tyson Foods' Shelbyville Plant implemented a new holiday for the plant's Muslim workers, in exchange for Labor Day, has created a national firestorm of debate...
Tyson 'regrets' public reaction (08/06/08)
Tyson Foods says that Labor Day is still a holiday, but not for the union employees at the Shelbyville poultry processing facility, who will be taking off the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr instead. Meanwhile, the union that negotiated the controversial contract at the Shelbyville plant has removed the original press release announcing the holiday change from its web site, and the union president has described the backlash to the decision as "bigotry."...
Tyson drops Labor Day holiday for Eid al-Fitr (08/01/08)
Workers at Tyson Foods' poultry processing plant in Shelbyville will no longer have a paid day off on Labor Day, but will instead take the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in the fall. A recent press release from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) stated that a new contract at the Shelbyville facility "implements a new holiday to accommodate the ... Muslim workers at the plant."...
Coalition hopes to encourage dialogue (04/09/08)
New billboards at the entrances to Shelbyville are intended to educate the community about immigrants and their contributions. The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) kicked off its Welcoming Tennessee Initiative in Shelbyville by placing the billboards and is planning other events in the next few months to help bridge the wide gap that exists between the community and newcomers of different nationalities...
Tyson defends hiring practices, works with refugees (03/28/08)
Tyson Foods officials have been working with the imam of Shelbyville's Islamic mosque to bridge the cultural gap that exists between the Somali community and the rest of the public. Representatives of the company also dismissed lingering charges of Tyson hiring illegal immigrants as "myths and misconceptions."...
Nashville center strives to help Shelbyville Somalis (03/24/08)
For the Somali Community Center of Nashville, Fridays are generally known as "Shelbyville Day." That's when carloads of Somali refugees from Bedford County head to the city for assistance from the center, which provides social services and advocacy "to meet the needs of refugees and immigrants in a culturally sensitive manner," according to program coordinator Kerry Foley...
Seminar in Murfreesboro focuses on Somalis (03/24/08)
MURFREESBORO -- "There will always be change." Those were the words of Salaad Nur, a Somali immigrant who spoke Thursday evening at Middle Tennessee State University to a group of students about the refugees who have moved to this state after fleeing their war torn country...
OPINION: Where do we go from here? (02/02/08)
This is the text of the speech staff writer Brian Mosely gave during an appearance Thursday at Shelbyville Rotary Club. Thank you very much for inviting me to speak to you today. This is truly an honor. About six months ago, I was approached by a local official with a proposal to write a series of stories about the population of Somalis that have been moving to Shelbyville over the past few years...
T-G reporter tells Noon Rotarians about Somalia series (02/01/08)
Shelbyville Rotary Club (noon) invited Times-Gazette reporter Brian Mosely to speak at Thursday's meeting about his recent series on the influx of Somali refugees to Bedford County. Mosely wrote the series, which was suggested to him by local officials, to educate the community about the Somali population...
OPINION: Somalians respond poorly to local hospitality (12/29/07)
Over the past few years, this community has given a helping hand and opened their arms to the new arrivals from Somalia. In return, many of these refugees have given Shelbyville the finger. When I began researching this story about the Somalis, I knew it would be controversial. We were aware that many in Shelbyville were having serious concerns about hundreds of Sunni Muslims moving here...
Drug, gang problems accompany Somalis (12/28/07)
"They are a hard people to deal with." That's what Larry Lowman, chief administrator for Bedford County Sheriff's Department, had to say when asked about interactions between local Somali refugees and law enforcement. But while Lowman said that the many cultural differences cause problems for his department, they are far more concerned about the introduction of Somali gangs and drugs to Bedford County...
Adjustment is rougher for some cities (12/28/07)
Shelbyville is just one of several cities across the country which have found themselves with new neighbors from a culture as different from theirs as night and day. But as one examines how other communities have reacted to large numbers of Somali refugees moving in, it is obvious that Shelbyville has adjusted far better than other towns and cities in America...
Tyson jobs led Somalis to Shelbyville (12/27/07)
As with any mass migration of people throughout history, folks go where they can find their fortunes and a place to raise their families. So when the State Department began to place thousands of Somali refugees in cities and towns across the country over the past several years, they moved to towns where the best opportunities existed...
Transition is hard to grasp for Somalians (12/27/07)
Imagine you and your family suddenly being deposited into a totally alien society, with a completely different language spoken and customs so foreign that some might be considered offensive. Yet the only way one can adapt is to learn the native tongue and ways of the people who already live there...
Mosque is focus for Somali worship (12/26/07)
The gray, prefab building sits atop a slight rise off Depot Street. There are no signs or markings to indicate its purpose. But for the hundreds of Somali Muslims who have moved to Shelbyville over the past few years, it is an important part of their lives...
Cultural differences hinder understanding (12/26/07)
To say that the integration of hundreds of Somali refugees into Shelbyville over the past few years has gone smoothly would be inaccurate. While the newcomers have faced opposition in other communities around the country, Shelbyville has mostly welcomed the refugees, without much public outcry over their presence...
OPINION: Finding the truth about the Somalis (12/26/07)
Sunday marked the start of a series of stories about our new neighbors from Somalia, who have been moving into the community over the past several years. We hope our readers find these stories informative and educational. Over the past year, this writer has heard many stories and rumors concerning these new additions to Bedford County and decided to try to sort out facts from fiction. ...
Local services adapt to serve Somalis (12/24/07)
With thousands of refugees moving to the Middle Tennessee area from various countries, including Somalia, local communities suddenly find themselves having to provide services for the newcomers. Holly Johnson is director of Catholic Charities of Tennessee, which handles much of the resettlement tasks for Somalis. She told the T-G that she was not aware of Shelbyville's large Somali population....
Somali refugees find a haven in Shelbyville (12/22/07)
For a rural Tennessee town like Shelbyville, the public square typically displays a cross-section of the entire community. People are on their way to the county courthouse. Perhaps folks are there to shop or to drop by one of the banks to conduct important business....
The Bantu: A closer look (12/22/07)
To understand Shelbyville's new neighbors, it is necessary to examine their history, their oppressed status in Africa and the hideous conditions from which they recently escaped. According to Holly Johnson, director of Catholic Charities of Tennessee, the latest Somali newcomers to Nashville are from the Bantu tribe, which was persecuted in that war-torn country for years...