The following statement is from the Oromo Community of Western New York (OCWNY).
The Oromo Community of Western New York (OCWNY) successfully held its cultural show on December 10, 2011. This unique show brought several communities and individuals from Rochester, and surrounding cities together. Actually, some members of the Oromo community and friends of the Oromo drove hours to attend this fun, yet meaningful, event.
We would like to thank all individuals and organizations for attending the show. OCWNY is confident that our guests have acquired significant amount of knowledge about Oromos and their culture from this unique show.
Upon stepping into the event’s hall, one thing that stroke the guest’s eyes was the display of Oromo traditional belongings. Traditional items, ranging from clothes to equipment, were brought out by OCWNY members to display the unique Oromo culture. The traditional clothes of children and adults had made the show even more representative of the Oromo nation. Through the traditional clothes and displayed items, one could observe the diversity and complexity of Oromos. In addition, traditional foods gave attendants the taste of Oromia.
Like all Oromo events, OCWNY’s Oromo cultural show was started by a blessing. Again, even the blessing was proof of the diversity and complexity of Oromos. The blessing was led by Mr. Achoy Urufule, Haji Amaan Usoo and Mr. Konte Dofaa – representing Waaqefannaa, Muslim and Christian Oromos, respectively. Although most of members of the audience had already been familiar with the Islam and Christianity, it was their first time to hear of Waaqefannaa. Thus, there was a brief introduction about Waaqefannaa, the indigenous and major religion of Oromos before the arrivals of Islam and Christianity.
Following the blessing, the audience was entertained by several traditional dances, including ceremonial and other songs from different Oromian regions. While talking about the traditional dances, it’s worth mentioning the time and energy OCWNY children contributed. They took their job seriously, practiced hard and performed beautifully. The community treasures them and encourages them to keep it up.
Besides its members’ efforts, OCWNY got to where it is now through the support of other organizations. To say ‘thank you’ to such organizations, OCWNY awarded Certificates of Appreciation to Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, the Downtown United Presbyterian Church (DUPC), and the Flying Squirrel Community Space (FSCS).
Although entertainment was part of the event, the major aim of the show was to educate the audience about the Oromo people and their history. The keynote speaker, the president of OCWNY, Mr. Waaqo Daddacha, provided facts about Oromos and their history. During his talk, Mr. Waaqo showed the connection between the current Ethiopia, Oromia and Abyssinia. Moreover, the talk highlighted the human rights abuses in Ethiopia as general, and that of Oromos in particular. The talk was concluded urging the audience to support the Oromo cause by taking necessary actions.
In addition, the background about the OCWNY was presented by Biftu Duresso and Abshiro Abubakar. The two young girls walked the audience through the journey of OCWNY from initiation up to now. In their talk, Biftu and Abshiro underlined the major accomplishments of the community, including the Afaan oromo teaching program and advocacy for basic human rights.
Generally, this event brought the Oromo history to light, and showed the unity and strength of OCWNY members. Besides to the performing members, several others supported the show by contributing their part. The organizing committee would like to thank all who contributed their time, energy and money to make this event successful. Particularly, thanks to DUPC for covering the cost of rent for the venue.
Unity is Strength