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Dreaming in Somali

  • Betsy Kalin, Director/Producer
  • Stefanie Chambers, Producer

A female Somalian is sitting on the ground.

About the Project

Dreaming in Somali is a timely exploration of Somali refugees’ integration in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The documentary follows the Somali-American experience through the eyes of four residents of the Twin Cities – a police officer, a women’s health advocate, a union leader, and an imam and teacher.

With roughly 60,000 Somalis in a population of 700,000, Somalis have made a place for themselves in this progressive Midwestern state. Somali refugees started arriving in Minnesota in the early 1990s and have developed into the largest Somali community in the country. After decades in the U.S., our subjects encounter new obstacles to their integration by virtue of being immigrants who are Black and Muslim at a time when racism, Islamophobia, fear of terrorism, police violence, and community fractures have intensified.

By depicting Somali-Americans’ challenges and triumphs, the film creates a unique opportunity for outsiders to see how these New Americans are working to establish productive lives. The film brings to light the complex issues New Americans across the nation are facing where changing demographics often engender fear and foster misconceptions about refugees, immigrants, and Muslims.