Friday, May 2, 2008

47th Independence Day Anniversary Celebrations in Minnesota

Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota decided to come together as a national group this year to celebrate the country's independence. This act of unity was as a result of the collaboration of the executives of all the various subgroups ; Tegloma, Sierrasota, SLAI, Sierra Leone Union, Kono Union and individuals to form the Sierra Leone Community in Minnesota (SLCM.) SLCM was formed out of the recognition that though there may be differences among Sierra Leoneans based on religious, ethnic, regional and political grounds, there are many more commonalities that tie Sierra Leoneans together.

Many members of this community realize that all Sierra Leoneans are one and the same, united by a common and genuine love for their country Sierra Sierra Leone. Some of us were born into mixed ethnic families and realize that diversity is an asset rather than a liability. All well meaning Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota have therefore resolved to always celebrate national activities together under the SLCM and come together to promote the various social groups that exist.

Since its formation in 2006 SLCM has constantly strived to position itself as the umbrella group for all Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota and it has done and is doing a wonderful job. It organized both the 46th and 47th Independence anniversary celebrations. The SLCM now has an office in Minnesota at the Center for Families in Minneapolis.

The various Sierra Leone sub-groups in Minnesata that make up the SLCM are KOno Union whose President is Alhaji Mohamed Sogbeh, Tegloma Minnesota Chapter whose president is Elizabeth Momoh, Sierra Leone Union with President Musa Mohai, Sierra Leone Aid Initiative (SLAI)with president Jonathan Rose, and Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota (Sierrasota) with president Komba Fayia.

The SLCM Board of Directors are Jim Leslie, Gbass Mends, Elizabeth Momoh, Jonathan Rose, Rev. Dr. Richard Shaka, and Aruna Wurie. The Interim SLCM executive is made up of Jonathan Rose-President, Karifa Jalloh-Vice President, Hassan Kamara-Treasurer and Rebecca Johnson-Secretary.

Guest Speakers at the occasion were Mr. Jeff Hall and Ms. Natalie Johnson and the Keynote Speaker was Mr. Mark Kinde.

The program itself was well attended and there was a performance by a group known as Sierrabera, a group of Musicians with origins from Sierra Leone and Liberia. Of course my very Self, Sheku Sheriff was there as a freelance photographer and commentator to monitor the program. There were lots of everything and everybody, I presume, went home in high spirits. The SLCM has a website at

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