Who are they?
Burma is an ethnically diverse country. Over 100 recognized languages are crammed into a country a little smaller than the state of Texas. In Charlotte, you are most likely to run in to ethnic Karen, Karenni, or Chin, but you may also meet Burmans, Rakhine, or Kachin.
While Burma's ethnic diversity is beautiful, it has also led to a history marred by fights for power, equality, and freedom. The ethnic Burman (often referred to simply as the "Burmese") are the largest group in the country, and hold seats of power and government. Various clashes between the Burman run government and surrounding ethnic groups have led to countless individuals and families fleeing for safety in neighboring Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia.
Where are they now?
Many of the Karen are in refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border while many of the Chin fled to Malaysia where they were allowed to rent apartments and find jobs, although with restricted freedom. Individuals from these groups (and others listed before) who are interested in resettlement apply and interview for a chance at a new life. Many have been welcomed to American soil and are thriving.
Refugees from Burma - PDF (COR)
Burmese Refugees Remain in Limbo by Thai Border (TIME)
Burmese Refugees in Thailand (US Dept. of State)
Burmese Refugees Fearful of New Life in USA (USA Today)
Local Refugees from Burma Would be Lost without Drucie Bathin (DEN)
Karen Refugees a 'Forgotten Story' (CNN)
The Mae La Refugee Camp - Video (CNN)