|MCs Juldeh Jalloh and Sarah Cassell|
|Cross section of Audience|
SLCM is an umbrella organization formed to foster unity in the Sierra Leone community and cuts across regional, tribal and political lines.
Having seen the necessity of celebrating certain milestones and organizing certain common functions like a country community rather than fragmented groups, the following organizations; Kono Union, Tegloma Minnesota Chapter, Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota (Sierrasota), Sierra Leone Aid initiative (SLAI), Sierra Leone Union (SLU), came together to form SLCM.
The Sierra Leone Community in Minnesota, which should be a model for other Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora, assists Sierra Leoneans with information services, immigration, health and wellness, education and promotes the history and culture of the country.
This year's celebration focused squarely on rural health care in Sierra Leone. The Keynote speaker was Dr. Gary Johnson of the Rural Health Care Initiative (RHCI), a collaborative effort of Sierra Leoneans and Minnesotans to address maternal and child health needs in Sierra Leone.
Gary, as Dr. Johnson prefers to be called, detailed the trip he made over the new year to Sierra Leone with two board members of RHCI, Alice Karpeh and Catherine Osborne, to lay the foundation for RHCI and get a better look at the health infrastructure in the country and intended area of operation. He noted how warmly the people had received the delegation, the existing and future challenges and opportunities that RHCI was confronted with, and his hopes for a future in which RHCI will work with with other partners to reverse the appalling health care statistics in the area.
Dr. Johnson's keynote address was both sobering and encouraging as he had the full attention of the mixed audience of many in the West African community and Americans from all works of life.
|Brooklyn Park Police being friendly|
|RHCI Executive Director|
|RHCI Executive Director having fun|