The United States just celebrated its independence on July 4th, but did you know that about 150,000 other people living in the U.S. (a third of which live in Minnesota) recently celebrated their day of independence? Somali Independence day is technically July 1st, but this year it was celebrated instead on June 13th due to the month-long Islamic holiday Ramadan that began on June 17th. This year marks the 55th anniversary of Somalia’s independence from Britain and Italy.
About one-third of Somali-Americans live in Minnesota. During the Somali Independence Day celebration (hosted by local organization Ka Joog), three blocks along West Lake Street in Minneapolis were full of live music, dancing, games, and art. Friends and families gathered to eat authentic Somali food, play soccer, watch traditional Somali dances, and admire traditional Somali art and crafts.
One area of the festival was called “Community Health and Wellness Lane”, and this was where WellShare had a table set up and one of our Community Health Workers, Adar, was doing outreach. Many festival-goers stopped by our table since WellShare is well known in the Twin Cities Somali community. Adar talked with people and handed out resources about the harms of tobacco and secondhand smoke, which is a component of our East African Smoke-Free Program.
WellShare is very proud to be part of this wonderful event, and we are already looking forward to next year!