SAMBUSA SUNDAY: A thank you from the Twin Cities Somali community

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Sambusa Sunday at Loring Park in Minneapolis. Photo by Iris Perez / Fox 9.

Amid all the tension and rallies unfolding across our nation, there was a uniquely spirited gathering inside Loring Park, where a group of Somali-Americans came together to host Sambusa Sunday.

Approximately 200 people attended and nourished themselves with sambusas, a pastry containing vegetables or beef and potatoes, served as a warm, heart-felt ‘thank you.’

Sambusa Sunday was hosted by the Coalition of Somali American Leaders and supported by the Minneapolis Foundation.  The event welcomed all who’ve stood behind the Somali community, reassured them, and helped them stay hopeful about the future.

“The community has expressed concern of safety, received a lot of threatening comments,” said Hamse Warfae. “And in light of our neighbors positively responding and [having] offered support we wanted to come together today to show we’re one community and to reinforce the positive message that nothing can divide this community.”

Warfae is the principal of Tayo Consulting Group, an organization that has led the Coalition of Somali American Leaders who decided Friday, along with former Minneapolis mayor, R.T. Rybak, to host the Sambusa Sunday.

“They wanted to do a thank you and I think a sambusa is a pretty good thank you don't you!” said Rybak with a wide smile, as he bit into the triangle-shaped pastry. “There were a lot of kids who woke up Wednesday and Thursday and for right or wrong were worried that if they went to school, and they were Somali, there might be a challenge."

The Somali community has felt the brunt of disconcerting, divisive sentiment over the past year; most recently following last month’s Crossroads Mall stabbings in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The election of Donald Trump as president further fueled uncertainty across all communities of color. That's why for people of all backgrounds, attending Sambusa Sunday was so important.

Other Somali community members corroborate Warfae’s statements. Others like Jibril Afyare, president of Somali American Citizens League, tells FOX 9 Somalis have felt fearful since Donald Trump has been chosen as the United States’ president-elect; namely because of his stance on immigration and previous statements about Muslims.

The message of inclusion served with the sambusas was also coupled with a fresh, hot cup of chai tea.

“Since the campaign, the very frightening images, I just wanted to be with people. Whether I knew them or not,” said long-time Minneapolis resident Judith Kahn.

Kahn refers to Sambusa Sunday as a treat fit for every man, woman and child.

“I don’t talk about ‘those’ children. These are ‘our’ children because as a member of this city and this community I have a responsibility for health and well-being,” insisted Kahn.

Kahn’s beliefs are food for thought and a welcome feast at Minneapolis’ Sambusa Sunday.

“There’s a part of me that’s so sad that, that’s what we’ve come to. Where we have to say, ‘I’m safe’ and someone has to wonder, ‘are you not safe?’ Yeah… not in my city!” exclaimed Kahn with a smile, shaking her head.

Sambusa Sunday fosters inclusion and is considered a means by which many can relieve the racial and ethnic tensions heightened during the presidential election.

“We’re all Minnesotans and we can all enjoy a good sambusa,” Rybak added.