In 1991 civil war broke out in Somalia, leading the way for a mass exodus of refugees into Kenya, and then two years later, to Minnesota. Today we have at least Somali refugees living in the Twin Cities.
The vast majority are hard working, law abiding citizens. Sadly, however, there has been a growing violent reputation among Somali youth. Gangs, bicycle muggings and national news of terrorist organizations recruiting Somali youth from our area have exasperated the situation.
Saving Tape was recently asked to help show what one small “Drop-in Youth Center” is doing to help keep Somali youth off the streets. They have pulled together a space with some donated games and couches to create a warm and open environment for kids to come in and relax, share some spoken word, have fun, and hopefully gain enough trust to really talk about life and serious issues. Having no budget, they approached Philip, whom they had worked with before, to help take some video of the area in order to show others the need and how to they can help.
Our time filming was very exciting. We were looking for that golden shot that would truly explain what they are trying to do, without interviewing or raising too much attention. Then while filming the boulevard in front of the center, a fight broke out between two young Somali men. We were across the
street and wound up filming most of the fight. While the clip is disturbing, it is a powerful portrayal of the tension in the community and the need for this drop-in center. Our hope is that others can get
involved, support financially, donate games or whatever else they can think of.
We can’t just expect their problems to remain their problems because eventually they will become ours. The Somali youth are just in need of the same love, friendship, peace, forgiveness, and security as anyone else. So hopefully with the aid of film making we can help others gain a deeper understanding of the need and how we can all help and pray for our Somali neighbors.
Saving Tape donated our time and equipment to capture the video footage and another local
organization has offered to edit the segment.