Minneapolis, MN – The record heat and state government shutdown did not keep Oromo-Minnesotans from celebrating America’s birthday. For more than a decade, on July 4th the Riverside Park has been the shrine of Oromo family reunion. Oromo immigrants in the Twin Cities metro flock to the Minneapolis Park for sizzling barbeque, volley ball, basketball, and soccer tournament.
Organized by the Oromo Community of Minnesota (OCM), the event draws record number of Oromos from around the state. OCM is a non-profit organization established in 1985 to serve the growing Oromo immigrant population in the Twin Cities. The 4th of July event attracts diverse groups of demographics for various reasons: elders meet under shade of oak trees to reminisce, children play in the pool with their kin’s, sports, and of course food.
In the past, the mood and conversations settled on “when would the Oromo people celebrate their independence?” This year however, many conversed passionately about the state government shutdown and the trending heat waves and humidity. This is an indication that Oromo-Minnesotans have come to realize that local politics affects them as much as the rest of Minnesotans.
Kids took it to the pool to cool off. Community leaders handed out bottled water as the grill burned away. Familiar melodies beamed from the makeshifts. The volleyball and soccer matches were intense and laudable. Youth and student organizations solicited funds for upcoming events and recruited new members. Ice-cream trucks made the rounds hoping to get the attention of the children.
Four soccer teams competed for the regional trophy. Despite a backbreaking heat and humid weather, the games were hard fought. Each team seemed to want to impress on the audience in preparation for the North American Oromo soccer tournament due to start later this month. The final match was between Utaa Waayyu and the younger 10,000 Lakes (TTL). 10,000 Lakes scored two goals in the first half of the match to capture the win and took home the trophy. The field and track had also attracted a considerable interest. Young children organized by age ran as organizers cheered them on.
On the occasion, Mrs. Ertra Namara, the President of Oromo Community of Minnesota, thanked the audience and called on all to support the community organization. OPride.com crew was at the field and talked to some of the attendants.
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