Somali Minnesotans celebrate a different Independence Day

Safiya Mohamed reports: 

 

This weekend, Americans celebrated Independence Day. Just a few days earlier, on July 1st, Somali-Americans celebrated Somali independence day. The holiday dates back to 1960 when Somalia liberated itself from British and Italian colonial powers. 

 

Hundreds of Somali residents gathered in Eagan to mark the occasion. 

Local author Deqo Muhidin said this day means a lot to her. 

 

“Being able to celebrate our independence, being able to dance, celebrate, listen to music together, and just be a part of history as we continue to celebrate our legacy of building our nation,” she explained.  

 

Muhidin has yet to experience a peaceful Somalia, but it’s something she dreams of. 

 

The majority of Somali-Minnesotans came here in the 1990s to escape civil war. Minnesota Compass estimates that there are between 72,000 and 85,000 Somali residents in the state. 

 

As black immigrants in a white majority culture, celebrations like this also provide an opportunity to recharge and heal from racialized trauma. 

 

Hodo Ali is the financial manager of Isuroon, the non-profit that organized the event. 

 

“It means to me that I have something, that I remember where I come from. And it also means to me that I have a country and I have a culture,” she said. 

 

Ali says she hopes the event connects young people with their homeland and their history. For teenagers Luqman Abdi and Zaki Sahal, it appears to have been a success. They said the event means a lot to them, and showed them just how big their community is.  Many attendees said it was exciting and emotional to see so many Somali people gathered together in a predominately white city. 

Photo: Attendees Fartun Warsame and Ayan Abukar in traditional Somali clothing at the Somali Independence Day celebration in Eagan on July 1, 2020.

 

 

Subscribe to hear Daily Updates in your podcast feed

SpotifyApple PodcastsRadio PublicGoogle Podcasts


  • Protestors Seek to Have Charges Dropped
    Activists on Thursday called on local officials to drop all charges against protestors demanding justice for Black lives. Mass arrests have become more common in the last year, with 646 people arrested during a march last November, and another 150 at a pr
  • Activists Demand Accountability for Private Security
    Minneapolis community members say a private security team in Uptown has seriously injured 3 people. They say they’re concerned the city is effectively outsourcing policing to private military contractors. Feven Gerezgiher reports.
  • Enbridge Energy’s Water Usage Draws Criticism Amidst Drought
    In response to the drought, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources suspended some of Enbridge’s permits to draw surface water. At the same time, the DNR has also increased the total amount of groundwater Enbridge can remove at its construction site
  • Collective honors victims of criminal justice system… with flowers
    The Flower Power Collective works to create healing spaces that serve as an alternative to protests. From sunrise to sundown, artists and community members carefully place flower after flower on the grass, working to create a vibrant art piece. Whether th