Senator Franken headed to Ethiopia to discuss plight of the Oromos and Somali refugees

0
66
Senator Al Franken (center) seen here with East African immigrant supporters as he campaigned for a second term in last year's election. Franken is starting a five nation African visit as part of bi-partisan congressional delegation. Photo: Courtesy Al Franken
Senator Al Franken (center) seen here with East African immigrant supporters as he campaigned for a second term in last year's election. Franken is starting a five nation African visit as part of bi-partisan congressional delegation. Photo: Courtesy Al Franken
Senator Al Franken (center) seen here with East African immigrant supporters as he campaigned for a second term in last year’s election. Franken is starting a five nation African visit as part of bi-partisan congressional delegation. Photo: Courtesy Al Franken

United States Senator Al Franken is among a delegation of bi-partisan US senators and congregational members visiting five African countries in a bid to bolster and foster bilateral trade ties, a statement from the senator’s office in Washington stated. The trip starts this weekend.

Countries to be visited by the delegation include Senegal, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Gabon, with a brief stop in Cape Verde.

Franken’s state is home to the largest concentration of Somalis outside of Africa and he plans to
meet with Somali refugees while in Ethiopia which hosts a large contingent of them, second only to Kenya. The state of Minnesota also boasts the largest concentration of Ethiopian immigrants after Washington, DC with the most dynamic of the Minnesota Ethiopians belonging to the Oromo community.

The Oromos have had longstanding grievances against the Ethiopian government regarding
marginalization of their community. While in Ethiopia, Senator Franken is scheduled to discuss their plight with Ethiopian government officials, according the senator’s spokesman, Michael Dale-Stein.

During the trip, Sen. Franken will be visiting renewable energy projects, agriculture projects, and health care facilities. Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware is the organizer of the trip.

The other Minnesotan in the delegation is Rep. Betty McCollum. Others on the delegation include Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), and several other members of Congress.

“With Minnesota being home to so many vibrant African immigrant communities, collaborating with these countries could help support many Minnesota industries—including our agricultural and energy sectors—and would help us build bilateral trade relations,” said Sen. Franken. “Beyond that, this bipartisan trip is particularly important to me because I’m planning to meet with Somali refugees and also discuss the crisis facing the Oromo people, which are both things that many families in our state deeply care about.”

Author

  • Tom Gitaa

    Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Mshale which has been reporting on the news and culture of African immigrants in the United States since 1995. He has a BA in Business from Metro State University and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dish Network satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as the first Black President of the Board of Directors at Books for Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. He has previously served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. An avid runner, he retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on training for half marathons.

About Tom Gitaa Gitaa, Editor-in-Chief

Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Mshale which has been reporting on the news and culture of African immigrants in the United States since 1995. He has a BA in Business from Metro State University and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dish Network satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as the first Black President of the Board of Directors at Books for Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. He has previously served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. An avid runner, he retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on training for half marathons.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
Loading...