ST. CLOUD - Somalis from St. Cloud and Central Minnesota hosted a Somali Independence Day celebration at Lake George on Sunday.

Somalis across Minnesota planned festivals through the weekend to celebrate their homeland's independence and also to celebrate their new home in the United States. Haji Yussuf was the event coordinator at the St. Cloud celebration, he says Somalis in St. Cloud are a living example of the American Dream.

"It's the most amazing place to be here-it's beautiful, accessible and welcoming, and we are part of the melting pot and American Dream," Yussuf says.

The event was free and open to everyone. Yussuf says everyone from the public was welcome to attend and learn about the Somali culture.

"We just want to share our culture and our tradition with our local populations and neighbors," Yussuf says.

The event was hosted by the nonprofit group Ka Joog. The group says this is the time of year when Somali communities build ties with other communities.

While there are some challenges and culture clashes for Somali's in Central Minnesota, Yussuf says they're very proud to be living in America and Central Minnesota.

"They are people who are really proud to be Americans-They are really proud to be a part of this American culture," Yussuf says.


Dan DeBaun, WJON News