Somali community celebrates education excellence

Onumba.com – When Fartun Farah, Huda Hashi and Mohammed Mahmud graduated from school recently, it was an exciting moment that each one of them celebrated with their respective families and close friends. But little did the trio know that they would also be celebrating their achievements with the rest of the Columbus Somali community and that Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and a bevy of other elected officials would be there to celebrate with them.  And that President Barack Obama would send a shout-out all the way from the White House in recognition of their accomplishments. Thanks to Jibril Hirsi, President of SomaliCAN, who in collaboration with the Somali Education Association, made it all happen after he decided to organize the event to celebrate educational excellence in the entire Somali community. The event, titled the First Annual Ohio Somali Graduation ceremony involving high School, college, and university graduates, took place at the Hilton Easton.  It was themed, ‘celebrating academic excellence.’  The keynote speaker was Professor Steve Howard of the Center for African Studies at Ohio University. Evidently, this kind of community clambake is an obvious departure from the norm.  Typically, each family would hold separate events to celebrate the graduation of a family member.  But Hirsi decided to change that.  He told the Call & Post that holding an amalgamated event is much more productive, not only because it celebrates collective community accomplishments, but also it brings the community together, even as it helps debunk the constant association of Somali youth to “terrorism” and “pirates.” Continue Reading

Coleman frustrated by wave of deadly violence

City is fighting back after it recorded 11 shootings, and 9 homicides in 72 hours, and counting

Onumba.com – It has been dubbed the “summer of violence.” And for sure, it is not the kind of summer Mayor Michael Coleman, Director of Public Safety Mitchell Brown, and Columbus Division of Police Chief Walter Distelzweig had in mind when they kicked off an initiative last April to have folks turn in their guns to the police. Even though a pile of guns were retrieved in that effort, city leaders are not satisfied and are continuing to fight to keep guns off the street, keep young folks from gaining access to them in order to keep the rate of youth violence down. But for some reason, like the proverbial bad pennies, these guns keep flowing back into the community, and ending up in the hands of a trigger-thrilled generation too chicken to fight and settle their scores with fists. The recent spike in gun violence in Columbus is pretty disturbing for city officials, to say the very least.  Coleman, for one, has always complained that there are “too many guns in the street.”  He decried the spate of violence and the frustration he feels for young folks dangling on the street and killing each other. Continue Reading

Clean Energy March

Group, students promote clean energy economy

Onumba.com — U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio is probably used to his constituents reaching him through a panoply of methods – letters, emails, and phone calls. But last week, a bevy of Ohio students thought of a better way…submitting 500 resumes and cover letters to his office. The students, largely from Ohio State University and Kent State University, came to submit resumes collected from students in universities across the state, said Tina Hrabak, one of the activists who spoke to the Call & Post. Those who besieged Brown’s Columbus North High street office last week were not actually job seekers.  Rather, submitting the resumes was their way of expressing support for clean energy economy they argue “would create as many as 61,000 jobs” while saving Ohio “households up to $992 per year.”

It was also to put pressure on Brown to honor his commitment to support comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation, said Hrabak, who also noted “we appreciate Sen. Brown’s support.”

“He has our back,” said Hrabak, of Sen. Brown.  But it appears they want him to do more to press the issue. Bryan McGannon, Ohio State Director for Repower America spoke to the Call & Post. Continue Reading


Quit complaining about the Somalis, get involved

Onumba.com — Pouting, whining, caterwauling, kvetching and scowling all over the place with long faces isn’t the solution.  It won’t help non-Somali African immigrants in Columbus get through the doors of government opportunities. Understand one thing, please:  ‘squeaky wheel gets the grease.’   And that’s pretty much what’s playing out here. Of course, it is abundantly clear, unless one has been camping out in a cave, that the Somalis, for what it is worth, are soaking up all the oxygen of attention from governments and community groups compared to other African immigrant communities? But why? For one thing, a stampede of them arrived here as hapless refugees needing a smorgasbord of government assistance to settle in a strange land. Continue Reading