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Minneapolis Councilmember Warsame visits Avivo to meet ESL students and their children

Avivo’s ESL students and their children were thrilled to meet Minneapolis Ward 6 Councilmember Abdi Warsame when he visited Avivo on Tuesday. Avivo’s ESL program teaches English to new Americans, to help them find jobs and support their families.

“Our students are so excited to meet Councilmember Warsame today,” said Cora, ESL instructor at Avivo. “We’re thankful he is taking the time to visit Avivo and have a dialogue with our ESL students.”

“It’s a challenge to be an immigrant. It’s a challenge to be poor, in a society such as ours.”

Councilmember Warsame kicked off the event by sharing his inspirational story of growing up in Somalia, then England, and moving to Minneapolis. Avivo’s ESL students, and their children, shared concerns they have about their community.

The children’s concerns ranged from smaller issues, such as loud parties and ice in the winter, to touching on major issues with national implications, such as guns and gun violence, homelessness, smoking, and theft.

Councilmember Warsame listens to presentation from children of Avivo's ESL students
Councilmember Warsame listens to a presentation from children of Avivo’s ESL students

Two groups of children presented possible solutions to two major issues – gun violence and smoking in the parks. Afterward, Councilmember Warsame responded by sharing his concerns about those same issues, and applauding the children for their presentations.

Councilmember Warsame addressed concerns raised by adults about rising housing costs and a lack of affordable housing for new Americans. He also took a moment to address an uptick in youth violence the community has experienced. “It’s a challenge to be an immigrant. It’s a challenge to be poor in a society such as ours,” said Councilmember Warsame. “However, the problem I see is one that needs intervention… it needs community intervention.”

All attendees left in good spirits, and staff and students eagerly await Councilmember Warsame’s next visit.

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