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Oromo community event is Sunday

Ayayew Bejica, an Oromo community leader, is involved in the planning of a Sunday night event at the Worthington Event Center. (RYAN McGAUGHEY/DAILY GLOBE)

WORTHINGTON — For a third year, Worthington’s Oromo community is hosting a celebration showcasing its food and culture.

Open to the public, the event will begin at around 8 p.m. Sunday at the Worthington Event Center and continue to approximately 1 a.m., said Ayayew Bejica, a member of the group coordinating the celebration.

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“Back home, the Oromo is huge and an ethnic majority in Ethiopia,” Bejica explained Thursday. “We are a big population, and we have a lot to show. We have different kind of foods, and we try to show our culture and events and food and music. That way, people can know our culture more.”

For this year’s event, the Orono community has invited vocalist Jabo Joti; he will be accompanied by both saxophone and keyboard.

“We invited an Oromo singer from Ethiopia,” Bejica said. “He arrived in the U.S. several months ago, and he now lives in Washington (D.C.). He is flying to the Twin Cities and is being driven down to Worthington for this event.

“A lot of people know of him, and we’re very excited to have him come here to this small community.”

Bejica noted the support of JBS and UFCW Local 1161 is helpful to both the planning of the annual Oromo celebration and the community as a whole.

“Because there are so many ethnic groups here ... they try to connect people with community leaders like me,” he said. “Otherwise, it’s hard to connect those people together with the language issues.”

Bejica works at JBS and also serves as an interpreter at Avera Medical Group Worthington. He is also thankful for the role law enforcement plays in keeping Worthington a safe place to live, and is a graduate — along with several others in the Oromo community — of the Worthington Police Department’s Citizens Academy program.

“I have lived here 17 years and have never seen any major crime,” he said. “The police is so different in this country; they are working so hard to maintain the peace. I have worked closely with them, and they are like heroes.”

Bejica expects roughly 200 people to attend Sunday’s celebration. Food is provided free, and there is a free-will donation to assist with Oromo community events.

Daily Globe Managing Editor Ryan McGaughey may be reached at 376-7320.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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