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Somali Community May Get First City Council Representative.

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oxymoron
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Somali Community May Get First City Council Representative.

Postby oxymoron » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:11 am

With rising political power, Somali community may get first City Council representative :clap: :clap: :clap:

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Abdi Warsame, 35, seems poised to become the Minneapolis City Council member representing the 6th Ward.

With the recent death of Minneapolis School Board member Hussein Samatar, a victory would make him the highest-ranking (and only) elected official of Somali descent in Minnesota, if not the entire nation. :ugeek:


His principal rival, Robert Lilligren, 53, has held the post for 11 years, but Warsame, in an organizational coup, flooded the DFL convention with hundreds of East African supporters this summer and grabbed the party's endorsement.

Running in a newly formed district that he himself helped to remap, he appears to be headed for victory. "Somalis are hungry for political representation,” he says. “This is a transformative moment for our community.”

Others saw the Somalis as pushy interlopers. “A lot of people came who had never been there before,” says David Weinlick, DFL party affairs director. To party regulars, it felt weird.

“This is a very old American story, and it’s a good one,” says Larry Jacobs, professor of political studies at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Over the centuries, he points out, one immigrant group after another — the Germans, the Irish, the Italians, the Swedes, the Jews — have arrived and elbowed their way into the electoral system. By emphasizing their ethnic identity, they not only won votes but earned respect from the rest of the community. And with access to elected offices, they could hand some of the goodies back to their home communities. The Somalis are only the most recent group to make a bid for political power, at least in Minneapolis.

However, the fallout from the recent al-Shabab attack in Nairobi could deflate those hopes a bit. No one knows for certain whether some of the Muslim extremists involved in the deadly shopping center raid are linked to the Twin Cities' Somali community. Both religious and secular leaders here have been quick to condemn the bloodshed and dissociate themselves from the actions of the militant group.
But, says Ahmed Ismail Yusuf, author of “Somalis in Minnesota” (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012), "events in Nairobi may dampen Somalis' spirits." They would be concerned, he adds, that others would see them as somehow to blame for the tragedy, and "they would want to hide as fast as they can" — possibly suppressing their own vote. Then too, he says, white voters might be put off when it comes to pulling the lever for a Somali candidate.

This possible setback comes behind two others. First was the untimely death in August of Hussein Samatar, 45, the Somali community's prime political mover. A widely respected and popular figure, he had been elected to the city's school board, and before he was diagnosed with leukemia this spring, he talked about running for mayor. In attendance at his funeral was an A-list of Minnesota politicos: Sen. Al Franken, Congressman Keith Ellison, Mayor R.T. Rybak, Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Minneapolis School Board Chair Alberto Monserrate, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, state Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Lilligren and dozens of others.

Almost simultaneously, the shootings of three young Somali men created worries about a resurgence in gang violence and a ding in the community's reputation. Warsame shook his head when speaking about the new spate of crime. "We have to take responsibility for our own mistakes," he says.

The Somali Diaspora

If any group could overcome setbacks, however, it would be Minneapolis' Somalis. In the last 20 years, they survived a violent civil war — Warsame calls it “a slow genocide” — in their homeland, bleak refugee camps in Kenya and resettlement in not-so-friendly communities across the globe. The U.S. began to bring Somalis to this country in the early 1990s.

In 1992, a trickle of Somalis found their way from San Diego to Marshall, Minn., where they heard a turkey-packing plant was hiring. They immediately landed jobs, and finding a hospitable environment with a low unemployment rate, a low cost of living and social agencies experienced in dealing with immigrants (the Hmong who had come before), Somalis urged their friends and relatives to join them in Minnesota.

They've continued to come. The Census Bureau's American Community Survey puts the number of Somalis in Minnesota at 32,000, but some dispute that figure.

Hashi Shafi, head of the Somali Action Alliance, a voter registration group, believes that there are now 80,000 to 100,000 Somalis in Minnesota, about half of them of eligible voting age. Mohamud Noor, acting director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, says that some 7,000 "secondary immigrants" — Somalis from other parts of the U.S. — are arriving in the state every year. Minneapolis has become the most important site in the Somali diaspora.

Their lives here have not been easy. Somalis have launched hundreds of small businesses — restaurants, retail shops, warehouses, grocery stores and other enterprises — but most remain grindingly poor. Again, the American Community Survey pegs 82 percent at or below the poverty line.

In the wake of the 2001 World Trade Center attack, Somalis suffered an onslaught of distrust encountered by all Muslims in the United States. Somali women’s conservative garb set them apart, and the meticulousness of some Somalis in following Muslim law (taxi drivers refusing to transport passengers carrying liquor, for example) made their assimilation into American life that much more difficult.

On top of all that, some Somalis, either wary of others or uncomfortable with English, seemed to hold themselves aloof. Says David Fields, community development coordinator of Elliot Park Neighborhood Inc., which draws plans for an area where many Somalis live: "We've tried to reach out to them, but they've remained an entirely separate community."

That has begun to shift, says Cawo Abdi, a Somali-born assistant professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota. "It's been 20 years since the [Somali] state collapsed," she says. "They are more and more cognizant that they are here to stay. Minnesota is their home. And they want to have a role here."

Warsame, who came here in 2006 to be near his cousins, says that he views Minnesota as a place he where he wants to be, not just somewhere he landed by accident. "I love Minnesota. It's a nice, open state." He adds with a laugh, "I don't even mind the winters anymore."

What's more, many Somalis say that they are tired of being typecast as poor, pitiful people. They are ready to make their political mark.

Image

"The time to feel sorry for us is over," says Fartun Weli. She heads a group called Isuroon, which, translated, means "strong women taking care of themselves." "Women feel they need to be doing better. They are very worried. They want an exit from poverty. They feel that the only way that will happen is by getting involved."

And she means politically involved.

Through the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, she recruited Steve Sviggum, former Minnesota House speaker (1999-2007) and former communications director for the Republican caucus, to teach classes in civics, parliamentary procedure and legislative process to Somali women — although men are showing up at the classes as well.

"They are really interested in becoming empowered," says Sviggum. Their first assignment: reading both the U.S. and Minnesota Constitutions. All that seems like a far cry from electioneering or lobbying, but Somalis seem willing to play the long game — to understand the system from the bottom up and then exploit it to the fullest.

The long game
That long game characterizes Abdi Warsame's foray into politics.

Growing up in London, he never had had political office on his agenda. Before moving to the Twin Cities, he earned a master's degree in international business from the University of Greenwich. He took a job with Wells Fargo's retirement trust division in Roseville but then, deciding that he wanted to work with young people, he applied for and landed the position of executive director of the Riverside Plaza Tenants Association. A group that conducts citizenship courses, offers computer labs and handles tenant complaints, it would seem to provide a perfect platform for a budding politician.

In 2011, he helped Mohamud Noor, another rising politico, run first for the school board and, later, in a special election for state Senate. Noor lost both elections, but not by much. Says Warsame: "That’s when I got an insight into local politics, campaigns, the demographics and the numbers. It opened up my eyes and the eyes of most of the people now in my campaign to the lack of representation, not just for the East African community but for all the other ethnic communities in the city.”

What Warsame saw was that the Somali population was split among four or five different political jurisdictions.

"Noor lost by only a few hundred votes," he says. "If a few buildings in Ventura Village had been part of the district, Noor would have won." So in post-mortems on the campaign, he and others started thinking about changing the map.

"If we put them all in one ward, that would give them more political power," Warsame says. “We spoke to religious and business leaders, to elders, to youth, and explained why it was important to have a ward. “Even if an East African candidate did not emerge or win, anybody who was going to be a councilman in that ward would have to listen.”

They signed onto the idea, and in 2012, he formed the Citizens Committee for Fair Redistricting, a group of individuals, business owners and community leaders. The committee recruited Hazel Reinhardt, former Minnesota State demographer, to help argue their case. She was impressed. “They are really sophisticated people. They are planning to stay here, and they want to be active in the government. I think it’s a good thing,” she says.

The evidence she gathered was pretty compelling. The population of Minneapolis is 40 percent minority; yet of its 13 wards only one — the 5th Ward in North Minneapolis — had a representative who was a minority group member, Don Samuels, an African-American now running for mayor.

"If there was proportional representation on the Minneapolis City Council, five of the 13 wards would be represented by people from the minority population," Warsame wrote in a letter to the Charter Commission. "We think this lack of representation in elected offices in Minneapolis City Hall is grossly unfair." The ward boundary, as it was, he argued, in testimony before the commission, “divides the community, dilutes its voice and prevents it from having proper representation.”

http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy ... -represent

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby oxymoron » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:14 am

Reer Minneapolis Keep up the hard work, indeed we are proud. :mrgreen: :clap: :dj: :stylin: :eat:

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby AbkoowDhiblaawe » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:20 am

:russ: :dead:


thats general duke from SOL walahi LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby oxymoron » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:24 am

Somalis turning to politics to get 'seat at the table'

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By Marlys Harris | 10/08/13
Second of two articles

Somalis in the Twin Cities say that they are moving into politics to “have a seat at the table.”

For years, they’ve been on the receiving end of what the public has given them, whether it’s been financial aid, housing, schooling or medical care. Now they would like a say in what they get, if anything, and how it is given.

Mohamud Noor, 36, for example, has taken an unpaid leave from his job in information technology operations for Hennepin County, to work as acting director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, an immigrant resettlement group in Minneapolis that assists immigrants in finding education, housing, jobs, training and health care, among other things.

In the anteroom to his office at Brian Coyle Community Center in Cedar-Riverside, a half-dozen people wait to see him in hopes that he can help them find housing, jobs, training or other services. He's short of resources. Right now, his agency has no money. More annoyingly, it didn't receive anticipated funds from MNsure to sign up Somalis for the Affordable Care Act. "I believe that [funding] hasn't reached the maximum level I would have liked to see," he says.

Somalis' need for services has put them and Noor squarely in the Democratic camp.

Image

For Minneapolis City Council candidate Abdi Warsame, however, the political alliance may be less a matter of ideology than get-ology, that is, getting what he can for potential constituents. He would like to see the city provide training in welding, plumbing and other trades that would lead directly to high-paying jobs. "Lots of youths are not going to Augsburg College or the U of M," he says. "There are organs of the city that give out contracts."

Some of them could go to small businesses — some Somali businesses, he would hope. Somalis seem to take to small business, but they need more training in managing and maintaining their businesses, keeping up with regulations, paying taxes. The city, he believes, could provide that help. He would like the city’s planning efforts to focus more on renters and also somehow provide more opportunities for renters to become homeowners.

Noor, however, falls in line philosophically with other Minnesota liberals. In a questionnaire from TakeAction MN, a progressive group, for the state Senate election in 2011, he objected to the constitutional amendment that would have barred same-sex marriage, "even though this is a difficult issue in the Somali community," he wrote. He also advocated a change in funding for schools from complete reliance on property taxes, and he supported benefits, such as sick days for low-wage workers, burial at Fort Snelling National Cemetery for Hmong veterans of the Vietnam War and support for the Affordable Care Act. He won the endorsement.

Lately, he's been talking up education. "Our biggest challenge is lack of opportunity in education," he says. His emphasis is understandable. Although he hasn't yet officially declared his candidacy — he merely smiles and shakes his head to say he hasn't decided — it looks as though he may run next year for the late Hussein Samatar's board of education seat in District 3. "I knew Hussein Samatar," he says. (In fact, he's related.) "Filling his shoes would be difficult." Already, however, he has moved into the Seward neighborhood in District 3, and his wife (a teacher’s aide) and four children are slated to follow.

'Don't take us for granted' :heart: :mrgreen:

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Fartun Weli, 42, a slender woman in a long skirt, a blazer and a head scarf, made her way through the messy underground warren of offices at the state Capitol where reporters covering the Legislature hang out. Former House Speaker Steve Sviggum served as her escort, introducing her to journalists from the Star Tribune, tpt's "Almanac," the Rochester Post-Bulletin, the Pioneer Press and other news outlets, pointing out that she would be a good source for them if they needed to talk to someone from the Somali community. She hoped to be able to call them when she wanted to let them know about something she was pushing in the House or Senate. She and reporters exchanged cards, smiles, jokes and small talk. "I am not running for anything," she said over and over. "I am not a politician."

Maybe not, but she is doing political work. In the previous legislative session, Weli testified in favor of a bill that would have granted her group $170,000 to address reproductive health disparities among Somali women. The proposal was included in an omnibus health bill but dropped through a loophole. She says she felt totally lost at the Capitol and realized that she and other Somalis needed to learn the legislative process — thus the participation in civics classes taught by Sviggum.

Weli does not see the Somalis' alliance with Democrats as automatic. For one, Somalis' conservative "family values" line up more with those of Republicans. "Our religion is against abortion and against same-sex marriage," she says. The community mistakenly voted down the constitutional amendment barring gay marriage last fall, she adds; they thought it was tied to the amendment that would have required voter I.D., which they construed as a restriction on their right to vote. "If the same-sex marriage amendment had been on the ballot alone, people would have come out to a man, in wheelchairs, whatever, to vote for it," Weli says. "But there was a misunderstanding, and some people were crying afterward. They thought they were going to hell for voting no."

More important, however, to Weli’s mind, is Islamic belief in self-reliance. "Your first obligation is to take care of yourself," she says. Depending on government aid, as many Somalis do, is not getting them anywhere; it merely keeps them "in the ditch" of poverty. "We want to get out of the ditch," she says. And the way out is a good job. But she disapproves of the Democrats who voted for spending hundreds of millions on the Vikings stadium, which "won't produce one job for a poor Somali woman or a poor white woman or any poor person who needs a job."

She's tired moreover of what she calls political "speed-dating," where DFL pols come around during elections making big promises and then disappear. "Next time they might be surprised — they shouldn't take us for granted," she warns.

Sviggum says that he recognizes, in Fartun Weli and other Somalis he meets, natural-born Republicans; but right now he's teaching civics, not recruiting for the party. Daniel Severson, a former Republican state legislator who tried to win the party's endorsement for U.S. senator last year, had built a base among the Hmong, Vietnamese, Somalis and other minority communities. He argued at the GOP convention that Republicans should broaden their reach with growing immigrant populations who share conservative values. But the party was not receptive; it nominated Kurt Bills, whom Amy Klobuchar flattened in the general election.

Still, Somalis, like other immigrant groups, can boast of successful members who pursue the American Dream and better schools in Twin Cities suburbs. They are increasingly likely to vote Republican. “We are not monolithic, after all,” says Mohamud Noor. “I think it’s good. There should be competition.”

It's unlikely that the Democrats will lose the Somalis overnight, however. “Right now, their values line up with the Democrats,’” says Hashi Shafi, head of the Somali Action Alliance.

In the Minneapolis mayor’s race, it’s a matter of which DFL candidate will get their votes. If Somalis are playing identity politics, then one would think that their obvious choice would be Don Samuels, the African-American candidate from North Minneapolis.

Image

Oddly enough, at least to white people, Somalis do not necessarily identify with American-born blacks, says Cawo Abdi, an assistant professor of sociology professor at the University of Minnesota. In Somalia, where everyone was black, they didn’t feel black. “They became black in America,” she says. “Color is not a big factor to them. African-Americans seem as alien as whites. And there’s a tension. African-Americans don’t like that Somalians don’t identify as blacks.”

So at this point, it looks as though Mark Andrew has the edge. Mohamud Noor and Khan Omar, a Somali voting activist, are among those who have endorsed him. Warsame says he doesn’t know whom the Somali community will vote for, but added, “I am for Andrew, so I suppose a lot of people will follow.”

Somali aspirations

Larry Jacobs, the University of Minnesota political science professor, notes that in England and France, Muslims have not been allowed much of a toehold in politics. The result has been resentment, riots, gangs, crime — in short, nothing good. “We need to open the avenues to power,” he says.

And, the new vanguard of Somali pols doesn’t have a particularly radical list of demands. They want the same access that other immigrant groups have managed to gain through the ballot box.

To Mohamud Noor, that means over the next few years perhaps a Somali member of the City Council, the Board of Education, the state House of Representatives and the state Senate. Maybe someday there could be a Somali mayor.

Fartun Weli is looking for state legislation that would produce the training and jobs that would allow Somalis to climb out of poverty. She’s had it with handouts and welfare.

Warsame has a broader view. He has no aspiration to become mayor, and he emphasizes that he is an American politician who happens to be Somali, not the other way around. He says he wants to work for everybody in the 6th Ward. But his countrymen are foremost in his mind. “My hopes are that my community comes to terms with its past, gets comfortable with its present and hopeful about its future.”

http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy ... seat-table

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby oxymoron » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:27 am

The new generation of Somali Americans are waking up. We got the education, the balls, and the drive. :clap: :clap: :clap:

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby oxymoron » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:28 am

:russ: :dead:


thats general duke from SOL walahi LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL
And your point is? :mrgreen:

My cousin is unstoppable. :ugeek:

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby original dervish » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:30 am

Good news story :up:

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby AbkoowDhiblaawe » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:57 am

:russ: :dead:


thats general duke from SOL walahi LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL
And your point is? :mrgreen:

My cousin is unstoppable. :ugeek:

he's gonna loose. :mrgreen:

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby STARKAST » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:55 am

He's Warsame Adan right ? More Somalis in government is a great thing.

Minneapolis the light of the Somali diaspora.

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby oxymoron » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:00 am

He's Warsame Adan right ? More Somalis in government is a great thing.

Minneapolis the light of the Somali diaspora.
Indeed Minneapolis is the light of the Somali Diaspora, we intend to follow their footsteps across the great United States. :ugeek:

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby GalliumerianSlayer » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:06 am

:up: That's good.

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby oxymoron » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:47 am

:up: That's good.
It sure is. :clap: :clap: :clap: :stylin:

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby AhlulbaytSoldier » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:02 am

Warsame aka General Duke, a true qabilist. :lol:

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby oxymoron » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:04 am

Warsame aka General Duke, a true qabilist. :lol:
It's not General Duke. :|

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Re: Somali Community May Get First City Council Representati

Postby AhlulbaytSoldier » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:05 am

Its him :lol:
But dont worry, aslong he doesnt come to Xamar he can say whatever he wants and hate whoever he wants.
I gave Hawiye Militants his pics and some of his posts, told them he is ina yeey's most hardcore supporter and also supporter of injirleey ethiopian invasion. Yes nigga is on the hitlist :D :up:
Last edited by AhlulbaytSoldier on Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:06 am, edited 1 time in total.


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