My friend, P., a Karen refugee from Myanmar, invited me to photograph the first election meeting held by the new Karen Community Organization in Portland. P. is a founding member of the group and is also involved in the establishment of the new Myanmar Community Union. These organizations aim to create strong support networks for resettled refugees navigating a new country and to encourage the celebration and retention of cultural traditions.
I'm looking forward to documenting these organizations' future meetings. Many of the members spent years -- more than a decade in some cases -- in refugee camps waiting for resettlement. Now, despite the stress of immigration paperwork, job-searching, and learning English, they're eager to improve their communities. It's inspiring to see such resilience, fortitude, and enthusiastic civic participation.