Prospective Oromo Group Hopes To Spread Awareness

(A4O, 25 December 2013) A recent Southerner survey showed that a small, but significant, group of incoming freshmen speak Oromo, a language spoken mainly by an ethnic group in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. Junior Umar Hassan is working with others to start up a student group similar to Umoja or Unidos centered around Oromo culture. “[We want to] revive our culture,” said Hassan, emphasising the importance of “knowing your identity.”

One problem that he pointed out was that Oromo and Somali students are often grouped together by other members of the community. “I don’t want to be regarded as Somali when I’m not,” Hassan said. There seems to be a lack of awareness of Oromo culture in the school. He estimates that the number of Oromo students in the school has decreased, saying that there were about 200 Oromo students at South a few years ago, while only ten incoming freshmen this year say they speak Oromo.

Hassan outlined the path of Oromo people in the United States: they first came in the 1970’s, and the government began to send them to Minnesota in the 1990’s. More recently, many Oromo people have spread out into different neighborhoods of the Twin Cities and into the suburbs.

Along with South Students Hamdi Abdujalil, Abdi Wake, and Mubarak Hassan; Umar Hassan formed the activist group Oromo Young Generation. They have been involved in events at the University of Minnesota as part of the Books for Africa program, and an exhibit at the Traditions Institute.“[We’re] working on a citywide project now,” Hassan said. They are also working on organising a new exhibit for the Traditions Institute.

Overall, the group focuses on educational issues. Hassan says that they want to “help the community grow,” and have a particular focus on closing the achievement gap. “[Education] is the only way out,” he said. Oromo Young Generation wants to promote academic education for Oromo youth and also education about Oromo culture for others.

Hassan hopes to have a student group up and running soon, with the goal of being a resource and support system for Oromo students, while educating others about Oromo culture.

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About advocacy4oromia

The aim of Advocacy for Oromia-A4O is to advocate for the people’s causes to bring about beneficial outcomes in which the people able to resolve to their issues and concerns to control over their lives. Advocacy for Oromia may provide information and advice in order to assist people to take action to resolve their own concerns. It is engaged in promoting and advancing causes of disadvantaged people to ensure that their voice is heard and responded to. The organisation also committed to assist the integration of people with refugee background in the Australian society through the provision of culturally-sensitive services.

Posted on December 25, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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