Minneapolis (Oct, 23) – Enthusiastic members of Oromo Youth in Minnesota turned out in large numbers at the Obama/Dayton Rally. President Obama was making a last campaign stop in Minnesota to support DFLer Mark Dayton. Mark Dayton, a former US Senator, is the DFL gubernatorial candidate.
Minnesota (known to Oromos as Little Oromia) is home to the largest Oromo community outside of Oromia, the Oromo country. Community leaders estimate the number of Oromos in Minnesota to be above 20,000. For more than a decade now, the Oromia Youth Association (OYA) has been instrumental in raising awareness about Oromo people.
Last weekend, the Youth organized a live televised (on OPride.com) Get Out the Oromo Vote forum. The event featured US congressman Keith Ellison and many other local politicians including State Senate Majority Leader, Senator Larry Pogemiller. Last month, the Interntaional Oromo Youth Association (IOYA) announced its intention to establish an Oromo American Caucus in Minnesota.
Fresh from last weekend’s Get Out the Vote event, the Oromo Youth seem “fired up” to turn the page. As can be seen from pictures and videos of Obama/Dayton Rally, gone are the days of holding slogans and rallying at the state capitol. The Youth activists look determined and energized to get involved in the local politics and make the presence of a large Oromo Community noticeable.
I commend all those who dared the chilling weather and stood on lines (for hours) — working through a crowd of estimated 15,000. Way to go! Below are some video clips featuring Arfasse, Surraa, Hanan, Fathi, MJ, and Falmata, among others. Sources tell me that those pictured here and shown in the videos had volunteer tickets and there were over two dozen other members of Oromo youth outside.
Members of the Oromo community called OPride.com to express their joy at the sight of Oromo flag on television. The strong show of force and the clear message the youth sought to communicate is clearly understood by those with whom I spoke. An Oromo flag on “CNN” and other major news media, making a familiar background for US President’s speech, will surely be the talk of the town (among Oromo households) in the coming days and weeks.
Pictures courtesy of Dawit Baisa. Dawit is an Oromo Youth Activist and former President of the International Oromo Youth Association (IOYA).