Seattle East Africans reach out to police, politicians through iftars

Captain John Hayes and his hosts at the Oromo Community Center during a recent iftar. (Photo by Eric Scigliano for Crosscut.)
Captain John Hayes and his hosts at the Oromo Community Center during a recent iftar. (Photo by Eric Scigliano for Crosscut.)

Crosscut’s Eric Scigliano this week published a two-post series about the dynamic between the growing East African community in south Seattle and city officials, through their invitations to city and police officials to two community iftars, the traditional meal breaking the Ramadan fast.

At the iftar that also marked Somali Independence Day, Seattle Police Assistant Chief Bob Merner and Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant made inroads in connecting to people at the event.

At another iftar at the Oromo Cultural Center and mosque, immigrants from the Oromo community hosted top officials from the Seattle Police Department, including Deputy Chief Carmen Best, Assistant Chief Perry Tarrant, Captain John Hayes, and East African community liaison, Habtamu Abdi. People from the Oromo community spoke with the police officials about top concerns, including neighborhood safety during evening prayers, the conflict that some families have with transitioning to life in the United States and the community’s desire to raise money for a swimming pool.

Read Scigliano’s posts on Crosscut:

Somalis in Seattle unite, salute their top cop and politician

After the iftar: How an immigrant community’s worst fears came true

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