Dreaming in Somali is a timely exploration of the Somali-American experience through the eyes of four residents of the Twin Cities – a police officer, a union leader, a nonprofit director, 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 U.S. 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.

Dreaming in Somali reveals the complex issues New Americans across the nation are facing where changing demographics often engender fear and foster misconceptions about refugees, immigrants and Muslims.

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Betsy Kalin (Director/Producer) is an award-winning director/producer/writer at Itchy Bee Productions. She is a featured speaker at conferences, universities, film festivals, and community events.  Her most recent documentary East LA Interchange was broadcast on Spectrum News 1, highlighted on NBC L.A., and has won ten jury and audience awards to date. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Los Angeles City Historical Society’s J. Thomas Owen Award for illuminating L.A. history. Her first film, Roof, premiered at New York City’s MoMA for New Directors/New Films and is a part of the Short Shorts compilation. Her films Chained!Click, and Hearts Cracked Open have been honored with multiple awards at festivals around the world. She is currently an adjunct professor in Social Impact Media at Saybrook University. She received a BA in Women’s Studies from Columbia College at Columbia University and an MFA in Directing from the University of Miami.

Stefanie Chambers

Stefanie Chambers (Producer/Writer) is the department chair and a professor of Political Science at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Her research and teaching focus on migration, mayoral leadership, urban education, racial and ethnic politics, gender and politics, and environmental justice. Her books include Somalis in the Twin Cities and Columbus: Immigrant Incorporation in New Destinations (2017), the co-edited volume, The Politics of New Immigrant Destinations: Transatlantic Perspectives (2017), and Mayors and Schools: Minority Voices and Democratic Tensions in Urban Education (2006).  She is also the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters.