In 2014, the Oromo people began protesting against the government’s discriminatory practices, which resulted in a “brutal crackdown,” according to Human Rights Watch.
The Oromo Awareness Event hosted Sunday (May 21) at Grace Community Church (Worthington, MN) was a celebration of Oromo culture as well as an opportunity to raise awareness of the conflicts facing Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group.
Population-wise, Oromia makes up about 40 percent of Ethiopia. However, the Oromo people have been disenfranchised by the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) since it became a communist part in the early 1990s, and lack representation in parliament.
In 2014, the Oromo began protesting against the government’s discriminatory practices, which resulted in a “brutal crackdown,” according to Human Rights Watch. The government resisted the protests, and their efforts came to a boiling point on Oct. 2, 2016, when Ethiopian security forces fired bullets and released tear gas on a crowd of more than 2 million peaceful Oromo protesters, resulting in the death of hundreds of civilians.
Things became even worse just days later as the government imposed a state of emergency, blocking internet access and peaceful assembly. The violence and oppression left many to flee the country. Chaltu Uli, now an eighth-grader at Worthington Middle School, was one of the many Oromo people to leave the country in 2014. Chaltu was shocked by the killing of civilians last October — so much so she was motivated to do something about it. “When I heard that, I cried in school all day,” Chaltu said. “But that’s when I realized I wanted to help them.”