Burmese in Cleveland

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Min ga la ba

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News and Upcoming Events for Burmese in Cleveland

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Out & About - Photos and Event Recaps


Record Setting 2024 Cleveland Asian Festival

The 2024 Cleveland Asian Festival was a rousing success. Almost 50,000 people attended the annual 2 day festival that included performances, food, cultural displays, health screenings, games, kids and family activities and more.

Asia Plaza roof shot of crowd at Cleveland Asian Festival

Asia Plaza roof shot of crowd at Cleveland Asian Festival

There were traditional and modern performances on two stages. There was something for everyone. Younger people really liked the Asian Pop Dance Competition. Plenty of martial arts on the second stage. And so on.

See photos and videos on the Main Cleveland Asian Festival Page

You can also go directly to the following pages:

Cleveland Asian Festival People Page

Cleveland Asian Festival Food Page

Cleveland Asian Festival Organizations Page

Cleveland Asian Festival Volunteers Page


Cleveland Asian Festival 2018

The 2018 Cleveland Asian Festival was another huge success. The 9th annual Cleveland Asian Festival was held on the weekend of May 19 and 20 in Cleveland's AsiaTown neighborhood on Payne Avenue. It has become a not-to-miss annual event with great entertainment, food, shopping and fun.

Posing at the Cleveland Asian Festival

Posing at the Cleveland Asian Festival

See many pages full of photos and videos from the 2018 Cleveland Asian Festival


KaRen Bamboo Pole Dance at Cleveland Asian Festival

Young people representing the country of Myanmar (Burma) performed a traditional KaRen Bamboo Pole Dance at the 2014 Cleveland Asian Festival. MCs Asim Datta and Wayne Wong introduced the group and Wayne explained that they used PVC pipe instead of bamboo for this performance.

Organizations and Resources for Burmese in Cleveland

Karen Community of Akron

The Karen Community of Akron was founded in 2009 to help refugees and immigrants from Burma obtain self-sufficiency. Their goal is to simplify the integration of newcomers into American society by working as a community. They build strong relationships with employers, organizations, and local institutions to provide maximum benefit for Akron's Karen population. Their Mission: The mission of the Karen Community of Akron is to help in developing the community to build and sustain a high quality of life and to achieve self-sufficiency for all refugees from Burma in the United States.

The Karen are an ethnic group from the mountainous border regions of Burma and Thailand. Dispite having been subject of ethnic cleansing schemes by the Burmese government, the Karen have prevailed in being the second largest ethnic group in each country. Approximately 1,000 Karen call Akron home, living among refugees from other regions in Burma and South Asia.

According to the CIA World Factbook the ethnic groups of Burma are divided as follows: Burman (Bamar) 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%

Akron Karen Group

Akron Karen Group

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Business, Education and Employment Information

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Cleveland Burmese Feedback and Memories

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Burmese History and Culture

Various ethnic Burmese and ethnic minority city-states or kingdoms occupied the present borders through the 19th century. Over a period of 62 years (1824-1886), Britain conquered Burma and incorporated the country into its Indian Empire.

Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; in 1948, Burma attained independence from the Commonwealth. Gen.

Ne Win dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. In response to widespread civil unrest, Ne Win resigned in 1988, but within months the military crushed student-led protests and took power. Multiparty legislative elections in 1990 resulted in the main opposition party - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - winning a landslide victory.

Instead of handing over power, the junta placed NLD leader (and Nobel Peace Prize recipient) Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) under house arrest from 1989 to 1995, 2000 to 2002, and from May 2003 to November 2010. In late September 2007, the ruling junta brutally suppressed protests over increased fuel prices led by prodemocracy activists and Buddhist monks, killing at least 13 people and arresting thousands for participating in the demonstrations. In early May 2008, Burma was struck by Cyclone Nargis, which left over 138,000 dead and tens of thousands injured and homeless. Despite this tragedy, the junta proceeded with its May constitutional referendum, the first vote in Burma since 1990.

Parliamentary elections held in November 2010, considered flawed by many in the international community, saw the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party garner over 75% of the seats. Parliament convened in January 2011 and selected former Prime Minister Thein Sein as president. Although the vast majority of national-level appointees named by Thein Sein are former or current military officers, the government has initiated a series of political and economic reforms leading to a substantial opening of the long-isolated country. These reforms have included allowing ASSK to contest parliamentary by-elections on 1 April 2012, releasing hundreds of political prisoners, reaching preliminary peace agreements with 10 of the 11 major armed ethnic groups, enacting laws that provide better protections for basic human rights, and gradually reducing restrictions on freedom of the press, association, and civil society.

At least due in part to these reforms, ASSK now serves as an elected Member of Parliament and chair of the Committee for Rule of Law and Tranquility. Most political parties have begun building their institutions in preparation for the next round of general elections in 2015. The country is the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for 2014.

Map of Burma Myanmar

(The above courtesy of the CIA World Factbook)

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Profiles of Burmese in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio

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please let us know.
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