Fadila Duri Hassan, a 16 year old Oromo-American student at the Minneapolis based Lincoln International High School wrote about the challenges of growing up muslim in America. Fadila wrote the following essay responding to a question by ThreeSixty Teen Journalism that asked over 400 teenagers how they count to America.
ThreeSixty Journalism is an outreach program at the University of St.Thomas which trains high school students in journalism and the How Do You Count project was a collaboration with the StarTribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Here is Fadila’s winning essay.
I am a 16-year-old female named Fadila Duri Hassan. I am Oromo but was born in Saint Paul. Growing up in America is, I believe, a privilege, because I know many of my people who are back home that don't have the opportunity to be where I'm at or do what I am able to do today.
I am able to wake up in the morning knowing I can take a hot shower without having to walk to the nearest water pump. I am able to get on a school bus instead of walking a mile or more to get my education. In America knowing that I am an ethnic minority, I take that as an advantage. I strive to do the very best that I can be.
Even though my people would say I am lucky to be here in America it's not all that sweet. I don't get treated the same as the whites, blacks, Asians, Mexicans etc. I get stares and rude comments such as "rag head" or "towel head." It feels like because I am a Muslim and not a Christian, I am not the same.
It is to be remembered that the erroneous reference to Oromo with a derogatory term in the US Census Bureau’s Database has angered many Oromos around the states. Thanks to a collaborated effort from members of Oromo community in Minnesota, the error is said to have been fixed. Opride.com has also reported in a follow up report about the census issue, the Oromo Community of Minnesota has signed a partnership agreement with the regional census office. It is not too late to mail back your census forms. If you have any question filling out the census form call the Oromo Community of Minnesota at (651) 224-1786.
Please urge your friends, and family members to mark Black/African American and also Write-In OROMO where it says “some other race” for question #9. BE COUNTED FOR WHO YOU ARE.
Update: As the result of a recent server crash, we have to manually republish someone of our past articles. If you see my older articles on Google newsfeeds and alerts - please excuse the dust. After the above story, created on April 7, 2010, re-appeared on Google top stories for Oromo News search, Andrea Salazar, a Marketing Coordinator for ThreeSixty Journalism sends along the following comment. I encourage readers to pass on the information to all who might be interested.
~ Oromsis Adula
My name is Andrea Salazar and I'm the marketing coordinator for ThreeSixty Journalism. I loved reading your blog especially since it highlights one of the students that submitted an essay to us. I came on board with ThreeSixty Journalism in early August, after this essay contest had already passed, but I enjoyed reading all the essays on our site and hearing all the different perspectives.
We really value hearing diverse stories and those written by minors because these are oftentimes underrepresented and even unheard. If you're in contact with teens (in high school) that are interested in telling stories, we'd love for them to get involved in our after-school programs and summer camps.
Our editor, Annie Nelson, firstname.lastname@example.org, can answer any questions about how to get involved.