News and Perspectives
By Salma Farah, Emma Hesch, Thomas Wiederrecht
Salma Ahmed Ibrahim, 19, is a spunky, intelligent young woman. As a full time student at the University of Minnesota, a devoted Muslim, an active member in the Somali-American community, a political and social activist, and an aspiring poet, Salma leads an incredibly busy life. Salma was born in Mombasa, Kenya to Somali parents. Her parents met in a refugee camp in Kenya where her father was working for the U.N, and her mother was seeking asylum after having fled the civil war in Somalia. Shortly after Salma’s birth, the family packed up and moved halfway across the world to Saint Paul, Minnesota. Salma thrived in this tight-knit, diverse community. However, when she was twelve, her family once again packed up and relocated to the white suburb of Roseville, Minnesota. Although they did not move very far, Salma felt as if she was in a completely different world. “Growing up, I didn’t realize how gentrified our city is… I never had to think about any super big identity questions until I moved to the suburbs,” Salma recalls. When asked about the difficult transition to Roseville, she almost immediately called to mind an incident that occurred on her first day of seventh grade. She was on the bus, trying to find an open seat to sit in. Most of the kids were already sitting by their friends, but since the bus was about to start moving, she sat down next to a kind-looking girl. Salma speaks calmly when she says, “When I sat down, she pushed me off the seat on to the floor... I don’t remember what I was thinking then, but I just stayed there on the floor for the rest of the bus ride. All the kids were looking at me in a really weird way… like condescending. And the bus driver didn’t say anything either.” The air in the interview room grew very heavy with sadness for Salma as she continued: “When you are twelve years old, you don’t necessarily have the vocabulary to describe what you are feeling, but you know that something is off. You know that you are not welcome.”
Lydia Negussie grew up in the family of Ethiopian immigrants who urged her younger brothers to avoid walking too fast or otherwise risk drawing suspicion on the street.
Partly, the advice echoed mistrust of East African authorities some immigrants carry over to their new homeland. But it also reflected a sense that few look out for working-class people of color in this country’s legal system.
“I see so many people in my community who fear the law is always stacked up against them,” said Negussie, now a senior at the University of Minnesota.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017, 8:30 - 10 a.m., Mississippi Room, Coffman Memorial Union, Register today!
Please join us and others across the Twin Cities for a free panel discussion focusing on gender diversity in technology. Lack of gender diversity in technology hurts men as well as women. This event will create a space for honest dialogue where we not only hear from men about their experiences, but give the audience actionable insights into what they can do to support the women in their lives and workplaces and create more successful businesses and homes. We’ll discuss tough issues like society's pressures on masculinity, retention of women in technology from male leaders’ perspectives, fatherhood, privilege – all with the goal of opening the door to ongoing cross-gender lines of collaboration and deeper understanding.
New assistant professor Kate Lockwood Harris’ research looks at the complex relationship between violence and communication. Violence has a negative impact beyond the violent act itself; it influences a person’s ability to get an education, succeed at work, have fulfilling relationships, and build strong communities. Communication techniques can either support or combat many kinds of violence.
The Circle of Indigenous Nations - University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Student Counseling Services has created and implemented a therapeutic group for Indigenous students on campus. The group will begin meeting in spring semester 2017; please share with any Indigenous students who could benefit from the group.