The line outside the Minneapolis Convention Center auditorium Sunday afternoon was nearly a block long, with elders in suits and many women and children in traditional red, yellow and green Oromo dress. It took nearly two hours for the crowd of more than 1,000 to enter. Then Oromo Olympian Feyisa Lilesa made his grand entrance. The silver medalist marathon runner from Ethiopia high-fived an elder in the front row and graciously greeted the crowd.
Lilesa, 26, became a hero to his people and brought global attention to the plight of the Oromo in Ethiopia when he crossed his arms to form the letter X above his head as he crossed the finish line at the Rio Games.
He did the same as he entered the auditorium Sunday and the crowd erupted in cheers.