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Two Polk County Supervisors Recognized at EMBARC Annual Dinner


On Thursday, Oct. 11 two members of the Polk County Board of Supervisors will be recognized at the Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center (EMBARC) Annual Dinner. Supervisors Angela Connolly and Robert Brownell have been long-standing and vocal advocates for immigrant refugees. They have provided support to EMBARC as well as participated in the creation and implementation of programs that help immigrant refugees succeed in our community.

Henny Ohr, Executive Director of EMBARC said “Polk County and particularly Supervisors Connolly and Brownell have been engaged in helping find solutions to help our immigrant community succeed. So many of the families that we serve have little support when they first get here and rely on our organization to help them navigate their new life.”

EMBARC is a community driven, grass roots organization by and for Burma refugees. They focus their work in the Burma community on building language skills; advocacy for housing, transportation and health care access; encouraging civic engagement; building capacity for other ethnic based non-profit organizations; youth employment; and maintaining their cultural identity.

Supervisor Angela Connolly said “EMBARC has done tremendous work in the Burma community and has become a model for successful refugee non-profit programming. On behalf of the Polk County Board of Supervisors, we are proud to support their work.”

Burma is one of the most diverse countries in the world, with eight main ethnic groups and more than one hundred sub-groups. According to the State Department, over 1,000 refugees from Burma have been resettled to Iowa. An additional 4,000 have come to Iowa in search of work, often with little support.

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Supervisor Robert Brownell added “Iowa has a long tradition as a welcoming community and it is our responsibility that we not only accept refugees who are fleeing violence and persecution in their home country, but that we help give them the tools and skills that they need to be successful here. Polk County is thankful for the diversity and culture that immigrants from all corners of the world bring to our community.”

Tickets to the EMBARC Annual Dinner can be purchased at

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