By Merertu Geleta and Kulani Jalata
November 9, 2010 – On behalf of the International Oromo Youth Association (IOYA), we are pleased to announce a New Year’s Eve monumental event. We are delighted that the “Jazz for Peace” band has agreed to do a benefit concert for IOYA to raise awareness about the struggle of Oromo people and also to raise funds for IOYA’s annual Oromo Youth Leadership Conference (OYLC). The concert will feature an internationally acclaimed jazz musician, Rick DellaRatta, as well as live performances by well-known Oromo artists.
Jazz pianist and vocalist Rick DellaRatta is a fantastic musician and the founder of Jazz for Peace band. Founded in 2002, the band has performed a series of 650 benefit concerts “to raise funds, publicity and awareness for outstanding organizations” around the world.
Rick DellaRatta has been commended among others by the Washington Post as an “excellent” musician with a “superb band.” Many prominent leaders have also showered praises on Rick and Jazz for Peace Band including the United States President and the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Barack Obama.
President Obama said;
Rick DellaRatta and Jazz for Peace have used the transcendent quality of music to promote a message of peace and unity. Now, over 500 concerts later, Jazz for Peace continues its mission of challenging humanity to realize that the forces that unite us are far stronger than the forces that divide us. I want to congratulate Rick and Jazz for Peace on everything they have accomplished to this point, and all the good they are sure to bring about as they continue this concert series.
With Jazz for Peace’s large network of supporters, the concert will undoubtedly be an incredible opportunity to introduce not only IOYA but also the entire Oromo community to the greater public. With a large presence from the Twin Cities’ diverse non-Oromo communities, the event will be a great opportunity to connect and network with influential members of our community. Therefore, our primary aim is to introduce the Oromo community to a wonderful musical experience as well as to a friendly and distinguished company.
On October 24th, 2010, Rick and the Jazz for Peace band performed at the Oromo Community Association of Chicago’s (OCAC) benefit concert. The event drew a large audience and as a result, members of Chicago’s Oromo community were interviewed on Chicago Public Radio’s Worldview program where the interviewees were asked, “Who are the Oromo People?”
Our second aim is to raise funds for OYLC, which will take place the summer of 2011 in Minnesota. OYLC is an interactive, educational, and an important networking and leadership-building conference for Oromo youth from around the world that has been taking place for the past five years. IOYA believes that bridging the gap between Oromia and the Diaspora is key to producing local, national, and global leaders that will promote global equality, democracy, and unity. By raising funds through this concert, our goal is to make OYLC more accessible to Oromo youth from around the globe and to strengthen the ties we have created and will continue to create. Our third and very important aim is to raise awareness about the Oromo struggle for human dignity, peace, justice, and democracy in Ethiopia.
IOYA is a non-profit organization run by youth and students. As such, we need everyone’s effort and support to attain success in all of the goals we have listed above. We request that you plan to participate in this monumental event and also that you tell your Oromo and non-Oromo friends, family and acquaintances about the event. It will be a wonderful way to spend your New Year’s Eve.
This event is not only a chance to fulfill our financial needs, expand and improve our youth leadership program, but also a brilliant way to proudly present our culture and identity to the greater community.
As we move ahead with the planning of the December 31st event that will start at 5:00 PM, we will leave you with the following saying: “I am nothing without you and you are nothing without me, but together we are everything.”
For tickets, more information and questions, please contact IOYA at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 952-393-1907. Ticket Price: $35 for each ticket. Limited number of tickets are available at discounted price of $25. Call today to take advantage of the $10 savings.
Merertu Geleta, Secretary of IOYA
Kulani Jalata, Vice President of IOYA