Press Statement from African Immigrant Community Leaders, May 9, 2016. State Capitol, Minnesota
Minnesota is home to over 200,000 African immigrants from many parts of Africa. According to recent study by Concordia University, African immigrants in Minnesota income is $1.6 billion and fuel economic growth in Minnesota by spending more than $500 million in Minnesota businesses and thereby creating jobs and economic development. The market for the African ethnic market is almost $300 million in Minnesota adding to jobs and economic development across Minnesota. African immigrants pay close to $200 million in state and local taxes.
While our African immigrant communities are contributing to our society throughout Minnesota, we have the highest poverty rate than any other community. For example, According to the Minnesota State Demographic Center, Somali Minnesotans have the highest rate of poverty among black Minnesotans with a poverty rate of 58%. Members of the African Immigrant community around Minnesota have joined forces to let their voice be heard at the capital. Despite the decisions that have been made by policy makers to tackle the issue of racial disparity, our community has been neglected. Our elected officials have neglected our community from the disparity discussion and investments at the capital. We voice our frustration with state policy makers and the lack of direct investments towards the African immigrant communities.
Among the leaders present were Siad Ali, Director, Minneapolis Board of Education, Abdullah Kiatamba, Executive Director, African Immigrant Services, Mohamed Farrah, Executive Director, Ka Joog, Ilhan Omar, Director of Policy Initiatives, Women Organizing Women, Mamadee Sesay, Executive Director, Organization of Liberians in Minnesota, Fozia Ali, SEWD and Hussein N. Castelli, community leader.