Somalis in Rochester Celebrate Independence Day

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(ABC 6 News) – America celebrates its Independence Day this Tuesday, but for Somalis in our area, and all over the world, Independence Day was celebrated today.

“Somali Independence Day is celebrated everywhere in Minnesota; Minnesota being the second home to Somalia for Somalis,” said Khadija Ali, Co-founder of Pamoja Women, a non-profit organization for East African women and their families in the Rochester area.

This is the second year they’ve partnered with various groups to organize celebrations for Somali Week.

“We’re just here to just help out the community and empower the women, and just kinda get them out of the homes and into the town, and just see this beautiful city of ours,” said Ali.

The week of activities ended today at Mayo High School, where they partnered with the Back to School Tournament to run the Somali Week soccer championship.

“This is the second year of this tournament, and we’re looking forward for the future to have it bigger and better,” said Harun Noor, Sponsor of the Back to School Tournament.

Six youth teams from Somali communities all over Minnesota, and even some from out of state, competed for first, second and third place trophies.

Pamoja Women also had snacks and face painting for the younger kids.

“We are trying to bring back here the celebration to Rochester and kinda just show our youth we can celebrate our independence no matter where we’re at,” said Ali.

Even though the even celebrate Somali independence, it is welcome to everyone.

“We just want people to come so we can talk to them about our traditions, our culture,” said Ali. Rochester is already a diverse place, but she wants people to come out and get to know Somali culture.

Though the celebrations have ended in Rochester for now, there are still more to come. Pamoja Women will have another event on August 26th at Peace Plaza to celebrate different cultures from all over Africa.