Fasallada waxay bilaaban doonaan Oktoobar 5. Waxaa la qaban doonaa subaxa Isniinta iyo Arbacada laga bilaabo 9-11 subaxnimo Goobta waa la beddelay. Fasallada waxaa lagu qaban doonaa Kaniisada Lutheran (oo u dhow harada Lake Wobegon Trail), 610 County Rd 2, St. Joseph dhinaca woqooyi ee magaalada.
by Jeff Veline
(Veline is the oldest son of rock ‘n’ roll legend, the late Bobby Vee. Jeff is the co-owner of Rockhouse Studios in St. Joseph.)
I recently sat down and had a conversation with a local Somali mother and daughter here in St. Joseph, and it almost instantly transported me back to my own childhood growing up in Los Angeles. I was not aware of any Somali people living there at the time; however, there was vast cultural diversity. Los Angeles, of course, has always been a melting pot of people from many ethnicities and walks of life.
As a child, I took for granted that we had Mexican friends, Asian friends and Middle Eastern friends, among others. It was just normal.
My best friend in third grade was Black. We spent all of our free time together, and he often came to my house for sleepovers. However, I never went to his, until one day I did. At the age of 9, we rode the city bus across L.A., changing twice, to get to his house in the Crenshaw neighborhood. We did have a few dimes in our pockets in case we needed to phone for help! It never crossed my mind at that age that everyone in his neighborhood would be Black. That his whole family would be Black. Even the dog was Black. If it were not for our friendship, the overwhelming warmth of his family and my innocence, I might have used one of those dimes to call for a ride home. I think everyone should experience being the minority, if even for just a few days. I feel fortunate for that lesson.
Moving to central Minnesota, at age 16, was a bit of a “culture shock” in that there really was not much culture to speak of, at least not in the way I knew it. There were Germans, Scandinavians (my actual heritage) but very little real diversity. Sadly, what I noticed as time went on was not only a lack of diversity but an actual fear of diversity, an element of racism. I assumed it was from a lack of experience of other cultures and thus a lack of understanding. But it existed nonetheless.
These are some tricky days we are living in. Not only are we divided like never before by race and gender issues, but by a chasm of political views. I look back on my years growing up in Los Angeles with so much gratitude. I wish everyone could have a similar experience. I truly think things would be better in our society today.
Racism and discrimination of any kind has always seemed counter-intuitive to me as it limits the potential and the vibrancy of our society. We are all people. We all want the same basic stuff. By reaching out across ALL of these divides with pure intentions, I believe there is unlimited potential to influence others positively and for our community to be the best that it can be.
If you have any questions, contact Juliana Howard at 715-791-8976 or Jamal Elmi at 320-310-2351.