Somali Bantu workshop going on in Louisville, KY

According to this article in the Courier-Journal, Louisville has the largest concentration of Somali Bantu in the United States.  This weekend, you the taxpayer, fund a conference to help them get organized as an ethnic community group (just another special interest group?).    The funding comes from Office of Refugee Resettlement grants to the National Somali Bantu Project of Portland State University.  And, is likely part of the federally funded Ethnic Community Based Organizations (ECBOs) program I complained about here

About the meeting this weekend:

When thousands of Somali Bantu refugees were formally resettled in the United States earlier this decade, Louisville received several hundred.

The last time Hassan Muya counted, there were 1,600 in the River City. And the number is growing daily, said Muya, president of the Somali Bantu Community of Kentucky.

The new arrivals are part of a secondary migration, and they have made Louisville the largest Somali Bantu community in the nation, said Omar Eno, director of the National Somali Bantu Project at Portland State University in Oregon.

This population surge, coupled with Louisville’s central location in the country, made the city the logical spot for the National Somali Bantu Workshops, the first meeting of Somali Bantu leaders in the United States organized by the project, said Eno.

How are the Bantu different from the ethnic Somalis that have taken over cities like Lewiston, ME?   Here is a Wikipedia article that explains how the Bantu were slaves (they don’t say it, but they were enslaved by Muslims) and looked down upon by ethnic Somalis and they never did get along back in Africa (and probably don’t here either).

Be sure to check the Wikipedia article because it does say which cities in the US became Bantu cities and which became ethnic Somali resettlement cities.

I wrote about Louisville here last September when I pointed to an article in the Wall Street Journal about Louisville attracting refugees to work in industries there.   One city official dismissed statistics that showed that Somalis were a financial burden on the city and called this generation the “throw away generation.”

Here is what I asked about these Ethnic organizations (ECBOs) last winter:

Now, here is what I wonder. Why do we need all these ECBO’s? Doesn’t the establishment of groups called Montagnard Human Rights Organization, Bosnian American Association of New York City, and the Boat People SOS simply continue to separate us in America, to continue to accentuate our differences? Shouldn’t we have workshops and conferences on how refugees should assimilate into America?

I envision sessions called perhaps “American Holiday traditions”, “Important people in American history”, “Following the laws, big and small in America”, “What’s acceptible public behavior in America (how to be polite in the supermarket, rules of the road)”, and so on.

Go back and read the article about this weekend’s conference, its about us understanding their culture so we can serve them better!

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