June 2020
Global Friends Coalition: Educate, Embrace, Empower
(Above) Celebrating World Refugee Day in 2019.
This year's event will be a live virtual event on June 20, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.
(Photo credit: Emily Dawes)

New Ways; Same Mission

Dear <<First Name>>,

As I write this monthly news for you, our supporters and advocates, my heart is heavy. This past week, in Grand Forks, an armed man killed Officer Cody Holte, who had been called in to assist two other officers who were serving an eviction notice. A woman who was in the apartment at the time, Lola Gwen Moore, was also killed.  Our community mourns together for loss of lives.

Additionally with the racial injustice in Minneapolis causing the death of  George Floyd, and the outbreak of protests in Fargo and all around the country, it is overwhelming. Blacks, along with many other people who support them, are calling for justice and true accountability.  I am also recalling the February death of  Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was jogging in Brunswick, Georgia who was killed by a White man who suspected Arbery of stealing items in the neighborhood. These deaths hit me hard as my own adult children are biracial. I want them to be able to go running or walking down our country's streets anywhere they please. I want them, and all people, to be able to have the privileges that I have had. I know first-hand, my privilege. In my work with Global Friends, I see it daily. I can get people's appliances repaired when I place a call to a tenant manager. Many of the people who I serve, cannot. I can make an appointment with a doctor or for a driver's license test, with ease. I have been with people who are basically dismissed because of their accent or tone of voice. When I help, I feel like I am treated differently.

Global Friends Coalition's mission is to foster refugee integration in the Greater Grand Forks community.  When we talk about integrating people into the community, we view this as "two-way." The receiving community embraces and accepts newcomers, recognizing the strengths they bring to the community, and works to support them. At the same time, we ask newcomers to adapt to our culture.  I am fortunate that I have gotten to work one-on-one with many New Americans as they make their way in Grand Forks. It is not an easy road. Many work low-wage jobs, with irregular schedules. It's hard to budget when you don't know how many hours a week you will work. And, $11.00 an hour isn't enough to live on. An apartment large enough for a family can cost $700 to $900 per month, if not more. I have seen racial discrimination here in Grand Forks, when I am called on to help. So, as disturbing as the riots are; it is time for systemic change and for ALL people to be treated equally.

Every June, for the past ten years, we have organized a World Refugee Day program and presented it downtown at the opening weekend of the Farmers Market.  This year, with social distancing guidelines in place, we are going virtual. On Saturday, June 20th at 2pm, we will screen three short, enlightening, immigrant produced films.  We are featuring 
Worlds Apart at Home, by Abdirahman Abdi – by and about Somali refugees, Navigating Hope, by Afghan refugee Sayed Najib Hashimi featuring Bhutanese refugees, and Pulse of a Dream, by Mubarak Muwonge Nsamba – by and about Ugandan immigrants in their pursuit of work. This will be followed by a panel discussion. The event will be streamed live on our Facebook page.

We are still working remotely but we can be reached easily by phone and email. Call 701-330-0765 or email  Your continued support provides us hope. Through your gifts, and support, you make a difference. 


Cynthia H. Shabb
Executive Director

Community Resources

 June 9th Primary Election 
If you are a U.S. citizen, you are eligible to vote in the primary election on June 9th. This year, the primary election is by mail-in vote only - no in-person voting. If you have not received or submitted your ballot application, or you have not yet received your ballot, call the Grand Forks County Auditor at 701-780-8200 immediately. Ballots must be in the mail by Monday June 8th, or you can drop them off at the secured ballot dropbox inside the Country parking garage downtown by 4pm Tuesday June 9th. For more information, visit

Grand Forks Community Support Facebook Group
This group brings together state and local news and resources every hour. They also answer questions and help coordinate assistance for families in need of supplies.

Grand Forks Food Pantry, Grocery, and Restaurant Resources
Lists food pantries and their hours and procedures for families in need of food assistance. It also lists the new hours for grocery stores, as well as hours and procedures for restaurants operating delivery or curbside pickup.

Grand Fork Housing Authority
Housing is now accepting change of income reporting online, so if you have a Section 8 voucher, or you live in a Housing Authority property, and you've been laid off or have had your hours reduced, report the change to your caseworker right away for immediate relief.

City of Grand Forks Covid-19 Resources
Stay up to date with resources from the City of Grand Forks
City of Grand Forks Facebook
The city is continuously updating residents through their Facebook, too, including live streaming the city's briefings.
North Dakota Department of Health
The Department of Health is leading the fight against Covid-19 at the state level. Stay up to date on the latest news and response through their website.
North Dakota Department of Health Facebook
Their Facebook also posts up-to-date information and livestreams their daily briefings at 10am and 4pm.

Grand Forks Herald
The city's flagship newspaper. They are making all coronavirus-related articles free for readers.
Updated Business Hours
This list compiled by the Herald and the Chamber of Commerce has updated hours for many businesses in Grand Forks.

High Plains Fair Housing
If you believe you're being treated unfairly and having your rights violated by your landlord, reach out to High Plains Fair Housing for assistance.

Firstlink / 2-1-1
Firstlink operates a community resource/crisis hotline. If you call 2-1-1, you can ask questions about where to find certain items, hours for stores or community resources, or just about anything. They are also trained crisis operators, so you if are feeling thoughts of suicide or just need someone to talk to, all people who answer the phone are trained to help.
Frequently Asked Questions / Useful Information
Covid-19 Information
Visit the CDC's website for more information about Covid-19, what you can do to stay safe, and what to do if you're not feeling well.

Visit Global Friend's Facebook page for translated material and videos concerning the virus and how to stay safe.

If you believe you have symptoms of the virus, please CALL Altru's 24/7 Coronavirus Hotline at 701.780.6358 before going into the ER or Urgent Care. They will ask you questions about your symptoms and travel, and have interpreters available, if needed. It is very important that you don't just go to the hospital before calling!

Stimulus Checks
More information at
If you make under $75,000 a year (or $150,000 as married couple), are a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen, and are not claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return, you may be eligible for a check of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child.
Tax data and bank account details from your 2019 (or 2018, if you haven't filed 2019 yet) tax returns will be used; if you have not filed taxes and gotten your refund (or paid taxes) through direct deposit, you may want to quickly do that; if the IRS has your direct deposit information, you will likely receive your check sooner. Otherwise, it will be sent in the mail.

If you've been laid off from work due to the Covid crisis, you may be eligible for Unemployment payments. If you're in North Dakota, visit the Job Service ND website for more information, to check eligibility, and to file a claim.

Income Tax Filing
The income tax filing deadline has been extended for everyone to July 15th, 2020. For more information, visit You may still want to file sooner for a quicker refund.
U.S. Census - Help Our Community Receive Vital Funding
You are required by federal law to complete Census Forms.
Let us know if you need help completing the Census.

To learn how census data impact you and your community, visit 2020CENSUS.GOV

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