Former Somali refugee and now a candidate for the Minneapolis City Council election Suud Olat has taken his campaign to Columbus, Ohio where he is targeting the larger East African and new Americans community to offer him support in the polls slated for August 11, 2020.
Olat says empowering small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs will be one of his rallying calls should he be elected into office.
Columbus ranks second after Minneapolis with the highest population from East Africa and Somali and Olat took time to rally support from the immigrant community.
“My main plan is to tackle poverty and challenges facing ward 6 residents especially the larger East African and new Americans community,” Olat said.
“I consider Ward 6 the small business and entrepreneur capital of Minneapolis. Our city needs to direct greater support to Ward 6 emerging and established businesses, many owned by women, people of colour and ingenious people. Equitable economic development and entrepreneurship is a critical component of my campaign to ensure a thriving, safe and livable neighbourhood,” he stated.
He said the East African community in Minneapolis and Columbus are very resourceful and given some empowerment they can play a big role in nation-building and improving their livelihoods.
“This is the community that has been working so hard to make some little money and send back to their brothers and sisters back home in East Africa in the form of remittances.
“We know how remittances from the immigrant community here have changed the livelihoods of many in East Africa.
“This is why we need to empower our people here so they can in turn help educate their brothers and sisters back home,” observed Olat who moved from the Daadab camp in Kenya seven years ago to the United States.
He also stated his commitment to care for the older generation.
“Our community has many senior citizens and vulnerable adults who need a caring ear and I intend to advocate on their behalf and ensure they get the care they need at home and that they are treated with dignity in our larger community.
“We will ensure they get priority and protection in access to healthcare, in signing up for classes at our state colleges, and that their voices are heard.”
While in Columbus in the meet and greet events, Olat was able to interact with Somali youths from the state where he preached the need for the immigrant community to work closely to improve their livelihoods.
“The East African community in Columbus are playing a great role as ambassadors of our countries back in Africa and this should make us all proud. All of them have a story to tell about their struggles and hard work.”
Olat spoke about his remarkable story that sets a good example for other youths.
Telling stories of thousands of miles away in Dadaab, where he grew up, where youth live a life that parallels a prison.
Their movement is always restricted, opportunities hard to come by, where education that the youth receive does not guarantee a stable income while there, Olat at his meet and greet events encouraged the youth not take those opportunities for granted and focus on education
Early voting for the Ward 6 elections started on June 26 with August 10 being the final day to cast early ballots and August 11 the primary voting day.
BY ODINDO AYIEKO