VOTING PERIOD (48 HOUR PERIOD): THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2018 STARTING AT 7:00 A.M. CST TO Saturday, SEPTEMBER 29, 2018 @ 7:00 A.M. CST
Business of the Year Finalists
Afro Deli: www.afrodeli.com
Nominated by Nour Mustafa Omar
To Vote for Afro Deli: Text “Giza” to 24587READ MORE
For nearly a decade, Afro Deli has served in the intersection of social entrepreneurship, community and great food. They specialize in the fast‐casual experience where customers can enjoy a healthy, locally sourced meal at a modest price.
Afro Deli supports initiatives and organizations that serve the African community here and across the world. Whether it is spearheading an initiative like Dine Out for Somalia, a fundraiser aiming to help provide relief for drought and famine or collaborating with organizations like Books for Africa that ships millions of books to better kids’ education in Africa. Afro Deli is also intentional in working with local minority suppliers. They do their part in supporting traditionally disadvantaged businesses by purchasing meats and produce from small business owners instead of large retailers, among other things.
In 2015, Afro Deli opened a downtown St. Paul restaurant and a small eatery in Stadium Village on the East Bank campus of the University of Minnesota last year. Meanwhile, in 2018 Afro Deli returned to the West Bank by joining with a Turkish‐American partner as minority owner of Campus Café at Riverside and Cedar avenues. Afro recently launched its grab‐n‐go products in several places, including the airport and gas stations. They are currently in eight stores metro wide, serving fresh fruits, salads, and sandwiches. Now, Afro Deli is gearing up to open a second location in St. Paul to meet its growing customer size.
The restaurant has also become a favorite caterer for parties, the Super Bowl and Business meetings. The restaurants and menu offerings are a mix of African and Mediterranean, but its employees hail from Africa to Mexico.
Kilimanjaro Catering: www.kilimanjarocatering.com
Nominated by George Ndege
To Vote for Kilimanjaro Catering: Text “Amboseli” to 24587READ MORE
Kilimanjaro Catering, based in the Twin Cities, has made great efforts to introduce and popularize African‐influenced cuisine to corporate, non‐profit, educational and governmental institutions.
It has provided professional African catering services to companies such as American Express, Colle McVoy advertising agency, the State of Minnesota, Rasmussen College, North Hennepin Community College, University of St Catherine, and Sarah’s Oasis for Women, among others.
Earlier this year, Chef Jojo, Kilimanjaro Catering’s executive chef and owner, Osseo School District (whose minority student population is more than 50%) and African Immigrant Services collaborated in a program aimed at encouraging kids to consume more vegetables during school lunches. Chef Jojo trained the food services staff to prepare his recipes, but two of his African‐influenced vegetable recipes were well received by the kids and adopted by the district.
With a mission and a dream to take it mainstream, Chef Jojo believes it will not be long before African dishes become part of popular American food culture.
African Non-Profit of the Year Finalists
Street Soccer Twin Cities: www.sstct.org
Nominated by Soren Smogard‐Ayers
To Vote for Street Soccer Twin Cities: Text “Nile” to 24587READ MORE
Street Soccer Twin Cities is a youth serving organization that offers free access for youth to participate in soccer activities and life skill development programs. Founded by Hani Haybe in 2013, the organization has taken youth across the country on national trips to places such as: San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC as well as to overseas soccer tournaments in Amsterdam, Norway, Scotland, Poland and France with all costs covered by the organization to encourage participation.
Street Soccer Twin Cities serves primarily Somali and East African youth but is open to youth from all backgrounds. Many of the youth in the program are new to the country and are in need of these types of free access programs to involve them in American society and other cultures, as well as giving them a support system.
Street Soccer Twin Cities offers year-round free tournaments, practices, and league games for youth to participate and acts as a support system for the immigrant community.
Mercy International Mission: mercyim.org
Nominated by Thompson Fadirepo
To Vote for Mercy International Mission: Text “Virunga” to 24587READ MORE
Mercy International Mission’s vision was born out of hope for an improved life expectancy for Nigerians, specifically for people living in the rural areas of southwestern Nigeria. Life expectancy for a Nigerian citizen is 52 years, which is near the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index measuring countries’ overall standard of living. Compare that to the State of Minnesota’s life expectancy rate of 81 years.
High poverty levels and lack of access to health care services combined with poor infrastructure such as limited transportation, no laboratory, limited electricity and water, and limited medical supplies create an environment that invites diseases that generally lead to a shorter life span. Its goal is to see communities have improved living conditions with sustained quality of life that can lead to increase in longer and healthier lifespan. Key Areas of focus: 1. Medical Services: Office Clinic, Mobile
Unit Services, Annual Medical Mission. 2. Education & Scholarship Programs. 3. Children & Youth Services, 4. Micro finance Projects. 4. Community Development. 5. Village of Hope Project.
The African Minnesota Women Awareness Group: www.amwag.org
Nominated by Marsha Fuller
To Vote for AMWAG: Text “Suez” to 24587READ MORE
The African Minnesota Women Awareness Group (AMWAG) works to raise awareness about domestic violence, to educate and create programming and technical assistance, to assist the public in addressing the issue, and to support those impacted by domestic violence.
Domestic abuse directed at women is of particular concern to African immigrants and is on the rise although only the most serious cases such as serious bodily harm or death that makes it into the news seems to be in the public eye. AMWAG provides free culturally sensitive holistic services to the individuals, families and communities living in the diaspora in dealing with the issue.
A lot of the work AMWAG does tends to be confidential given the nature of domestic abuse. It thus provides advocacy services geared towards safety, health and protection of domestic violence victims. It collaborates with community organizations, government authorities, church leaders, social workers, mental health professionals to achieve its goals.
Artist of the Year Finalist
Yusuf Shalita aka Papa Shalita
Nominated by James Falupe
There will be no voting in this category this year as there is only one eligible finalist.READ MORE
Papa Shalita has been a mainstay in the music business in the Midwest and especially Minnesota. Through it all, he has stayed through to the art of music whether it is through original music or covers. He has seen the difficulties of the industry but has never wavered. He has entertained Minnesotans since the 1990s, when cars will head to Stillwater on a Sunday to hear his band play at a place so far removed from the cities. In those days, it was an adventure in itself to drive out there, and for the bar
that was hosting them to have taken a chance on them as Shalita and the bar helped in the social interaction of the races.
Never mind that on this one day on Sunday in Stillwater, Africans would outnumber the usual Caucasians that frequented the join other days. But the bar made money thanks to Shalita. But above all, Shalita helped Africans get away from the city to let loose.
He is a pioneer in the entertainment community in Minnesota. Even after Stillwater ended, he has stayed relevant by entertaining us over the years whether it is at the Red Sea, a concert in the park or anywhere live African music is needed.
This past summer, Papa Shalita and his band were among those chosen to perform at Music for Mandela in downtown Minneapolis this past July during the 100th birthday celebration of Nelson Mandela hosted by Minnesota Orchestra.
Community Leadership Finalists
Dr. Jonathan Rose
To Vote for Jonathan Rose: Text “Serengeti” to 24587READ MORE
Dr. Jonathan Rose has worked at 3M’s Chemistry Department for several years and has gained a reputation as a hard worker and seasoned researcher resulting in numerous promotions.
For many in the African community, but especially within his own Sierra Leone community, he has been instrumental in the formation of key Sierra Leonean Organizations including the Sierra Leone Community in Minnesota (SLCM) and Rural Health Care Initiative (RHCI).
He is visible at many African functions meeting with leaders of various African Communities to promote unity amongst Sierra Leoneans as well as other Africans. Dr. Rose is very committed to his family, which he loves dearly but he has done an excellent job over the years balancing the needs of the community and providing leadership to it but still staying committed as a family man.
Nominated by Dr. Richard Young
To Vote for Comfort Dondo: Text “Lalibela” to 24587READ MORE
Comfort Dondo is an activist that does not stay confined to just her Southern African community. She is an avid supporter of women’s rights as well as Immigrant rights, fighting for the rights of Zimbabweans here in the Diaspora to supporting all African Immigrants through Scholarship, public policy advocacy and overall a young up and coming leader who believes in empowering Africans all over the world.
She assisted in the campaign against then dictator of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe. She also works with women and girls that are being prostituted on the streets of that country’s capital, Harare. She does not confine her work to Zimbabwe. She recently visited Kenya to collaborate with some local organizations and small tea growers.
She was recently selected to be a part of the 2019 legislative session Community Equity Pipeline (C.E.P.) cohort by Change Network Minnesota in its leadership program, a partnership between the Cultural Wellness Center and the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Spirit of the Moran Finalist
Nominated by Francis Paw
There will be no voting in this category this year as there is only one eligible finalist.READ MORE
Abdullah Kiatamba epitomizes the spirit of the warriors that are the Maasai people in East Africa who exhibit exceptional courage when fighting for the community in real war situations. Kiatamba is a recognized community leader but this past year, Kiatamba who is the founder of the African Immigrant Services, an organization he founded, was forced to step out of his ordinary role of leading the non‐ profit and fight for something bigger than him.
Liberians in the United States were faced with deportation following the expiration of Deferred Enforced Departure or DED, which allows Liberians to stay and work in the country. He will be the first one to admit the fight to keep DED for Liberians was a collaboration between many leaders, organizations and elected leaders but the organizational leadership and outspokenness that Kiatamba brought to the DED fight ensured its success, especially in the enjoining of elected leaders from the different political parties that made it a success.
Kiatamba brought his entire being into the fight for DED, at considerable risk to his normal duties at the non‐profit he founded because he considered DED a life or death issue for many Liberians and like the Morans (warriors) among the Maasai community, nothing else mattered but the fight for the life of Liberians.
Therefore, when President Donald Trump extended DED for one more year, early this year, a lot of credit was given to many in the fight but Kiatamba was singled out for the exceptional zeal and energy and organization he brought to the fight, at considerable risk to himself which is what having the Spirit of the Moran is all about.
Nominated by Amy Kadrmas
To Vote for Najma Osman: Text “Kilwa” to 24587READ MORE
Najma began her freshman year motivated and eager. She has a warm, welcoming personality and a passionate spirit to give back to others. Her long‐term goal in life is to study community health and one day travel the world helping others.
Najma is a Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society member and a Dean’s List student ‐ maintaining a GPA above a 3.5. She is also a member of the student advisory group and a leader for our women’s empowerment group, the GEMS. This summer Najma was selected as an Urban Scholar with the City of Minneapolis and was placed at the Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center in Minneapolis.
Namja is thriving at this post and is loving her ability to work within the community and do outreach. Najma is an example to other students – she works hard, studies hard, and is a friend to many.
Nominated by Amy Kadrmas
To Vote for Hajaratu Jaafaru: Text “Gao” to 24587READ MORE
Hajaratu Jaafaru will be entering her sophomore year at Dougherty Family College this fall. She has a giving heart and a passion for life. She has been actively volunteering in her community since her early teenage years.
In her senior year of high school she was selected as a Page Scholar and spent her first year in college volunteering at the Rondo Public Library. Hajaratu maintains a GPA of a 3.0 and is actively involved with a variety of student groups on campus.
She completed an internship her freshman year ANEW BAM, where she worked in the after‐school program with children from under‐served communities. This past summer Hajaratu was selected for her second internship with Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA) and is thriving. She is an exemplary student that studies hard, works hard, volunteers her free time to helping others, and is friend to many.
Nominated by Amy Kadrmas
To Vote for Xavier Abdullahi: Text “Ganvie” to 24587READ MORE
Xavier Abdullahi is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society; a Dean’s List student averaging a GPA of a 3.5 or higher; a member of our Student Advisory Group; and a Student Orientation Leader. Xavier has also been active in all college volunteer efforts throughout the year; and has become a support system for many students who find themselves struggling.
This past summer Xavier was selected as one of the University of St. Thomas research scholars and performed with great success. Xavier has a contagious smile and a genuine heart.
He is described as a ‘natural leader’ destined to do great things in life. In his first year in college, he displayed professionalism, kindness, motivation and compassion.