July 5, 2013, MINNEAPOLIS (NBC News) – To recognize the importance of Oromo people in Minnesota, both St. Paul and Minneapolis’ mayors declared the week of June 29 to July 6, “Oromo Week.”
“We love it here,” said Hassan Hussein. “I think it’s very good recognition and I think it signifies the contributions that we bring to the community.”
The Oromo people represent the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and for the 35,000 who live in Minnesota, the state is a Mini-Oromia.
“Little Oromia,” smiled Mubarek Lolo. “Because it’s Oromia where we’re from so they call it mini-Oromia here.”
Every year for the past 13 years, their 4th of July celebration has taken place at Riverside Park in Minneapolis.
“This is where we would normally hold our communal gatherings, so a little bit of home,” explained Hussein. “We feel a lot at home here.”
Today’s independence celebration isn’t lost on Hussein who knows others who have been persecuted and put to death just for being Oromo.
Over the years, Ethiopia has been through civil wars, and while others fled to nearby African countries, the ones who made the way to Minnesota are especially grateful today.