It’s New Year 2755 on the Karen Calendar!
The Karen New Year festivities on January 16, 2016, danced with joy! The day rang in the 10th Annual New Year Celebration sponsored by the Connecticut Karen Community Association of Hartford. The yearly gathering was at the Cathedral of St. Joseph’s former school in Hartford’s Asylum Hill neighborhood. “Since 2008, almost 900 Karen refugees have arrived in Connecticut with most making Hartford their new home city and January 16th marked the start of their New Year,” wrote Association official Mr. Soe Naing in a recent Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association (AHNA) newsletter. It is through working with the Hartford Public Library’s and AHNA’s immigration & refugee welcoming programs that I have come to know the Karen refugees. I was honored to be invited, and to help document the event with photographs. Since 2011 Asylum Hill has been my “home away from home”. As a long-time Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity board member and volunteer, I gratefully acknowledge that working in Asylum Hill, especially on South Marshall Street, has had a significant impact on my life. Opportunities to build Habitat homes, support AHNA and Hartford Public Library programs, implement South Marshall Interfaith Coalition initiatives, and work with Hartford Public High School’s Academy of Engineering and Green Technology are a sampling of my experiences signaling positive changes ahead for South Marshall Street residents. Please enjoy Mr. Naing’s article about the Karen New Year festivities in AHNA’s February “News & Views” via this link.
Don Shaw, Jr.
Writer and Editor