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Despite the rush of media coverage after the terrible tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2004, the nation faded from the public's view as the months and years passed. It is one one of the salient flaws in our news media: it's fickle, of-the-moment narrative often omits the denouement–and the people and organizations who stay around to pick up the pieces can be forgotten about.

When Kushil Gunasekera returned to Sri Lanka after the disaster, the conditions he faced were truly horrific: bodies floated in the water, buildings had collapsed, and the tsunami had killed more than 230,000 people across the region. Though casualties were most severe in Indonesia, Sri Lanka was hit hard, with approximately...

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It's the central theme of the American narrative: the journey of impoverished, oppressed immigrants to this country in search of security, prosperity and a better life for their children. It's a big part of what makes America what it is, and in a nation chock full of immigrants, it ought not be a controversial subject.

Jean Garcia Mabaka Yangu has lived that narrative, traveling from his native Democratic Republic of Congo through South America, Mexico and Texas to finally land in Portland, Maine. He fled endemic violence in his home country to complete this harrowing trip, escaping with his four children, part of a recent wave of Congolese asylum seekers.

Thankfully, the city of Portland has ...

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