FWD message from DNDA. – Redwan Aman, and his colleague Yusuf Beshir were apprehended by the Government of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, on June 30. Both American citizens living in Seattle, Redwan and Yusuf were on assignment as media personnel with the Oromo Media Network (OMN), a U.S. based media organization covering Ethiopia’s Oromo region, in late June when they were apprehended by Ethiopian security forces as part of a nationwide sweep aimed to suppress coverage of political demonstrations against the government in response to the assassination of beloved Oromo singer and activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa on June 29. Since their incarceration, families and loved ones here in Seattle have not heard from them, as the government has since shut down all forms of digital communication, and concerns grow more worrisome as the level of unrest only rises.
Both Redwan and Yusuf are Oromo, East Africa’s largest ethnic group, indigenous to southern and central Ethiopia and parts of northern Kenya. The Oromo Community here in Seattle (and in cities across the U.S.) has organized numerous protests to raise awareness about Yusuf and Redwan’s disappearance and the political fallout in Ethiopia. Oromo activists spoke with local news networks KOMO News and KING 5, urging the greater Seattle community to contact our local and state representatives and demand they protect both men and bring them back to Seattle.
We stand in solidarity with Seattle’s Oromo community and share their concerns. We call for U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to investigate Redwan and Yusuf’s whereabouts and bring both men back to Seattle in good health.
We urge you to join us in our support of Redwan and Yusuf. Reverberating the calls-to-action voiced by local Oromo activists, we ask that you:
1. Contact U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell via phone, email, letter, and/or social media and demand they promptly investigate the disappearance of Redwan and Yusuf and secure their return to the U.S. Please feel free to use the language provided here.
2. If you are a resident of Washington’s 9th Congressional District, contact Rep. Adam Smith via phone, email, letter, and/or social media to demand he work with U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to fight for the safe return of Redwan and Yusuf.
4. Amplify the voices of Seattle’s Oromo community by following their social media platforms on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Follow, like, share, and retweet: make your support heard online, too.
Redwan has been a valued partner of DNDA’s neighborhood youth programs. He is the head of Intercity Soccer League, a community sports organization dedicated to providing underserved King County youth the mentorship and resources necessary to develop as skillful soccer players and promising young adults. In just the last year alone, Redwan worked with DNDA to ensure close to 150 youth had equitable access to youth soccer programs. His work with DNDA is but just one of his projects. He is an amazing community leader who has been able to serve countless youth and families as an advocate for immigrant and refugee families. He coaches Foster High School’s boys soccer team, is a leading figure of Team Oromia Seattle, a journalist performing media-related projects with the Oromo Media Network both in the U.S. and abroad, and a philanthropist organizing numerous charitable projects for youth across the Oromo region of Ethiopia. To say Redwan and his colleague Yusuf are missed is an understatement.
Coach Redwan (far right) poses for a photo with youth after the One Love Soccer Tournament,
a neighborhood program of DNDA.
At the current moment, we ask that folks support the efforts of local Oromo activists by helping raise community awareness. It takes one to reach one, so please share this blog with your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors, and help us bring Redwan and Yusuf back home. We will keep you updated as circumstances transpire over the next coming weeks.