Sierra Leonean Organization Honors Community Leaders

SIERRASOTA Awards Winners
SIERRASOTA Award Winners

By Issa A. Mansaray | The AfricaPaper

Minneapolis, Minn- Members of Sierrasota, the Minnesota-based Sierra Leonean organization held their first Awards Night at the East Side Neighborhood Services Center to honor 19 community leaders and three organizations on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

“I feel honored,” said Julia Tucker

“It shows that people do care. That people recognize your contribution in the community,” said Julia Tucker, vice president of the Twin Cities-based One Big Happy Family who also walked the red carpet to receive her award from Mrs. Kumba Parsons. “It shows the community’s appreciation and an honor to be recognized. I feel honored.”

It was a great evening as more than 150 people were entertained with food and fantastic music according to Sierrasota member Osman Kamara. The DJ started with music of the ‘80s, but later tuned up his speakers with African beats that moved the crowd to the dance floor.

Komba Fayia the MC of the night said they deserve the awards as they have served and contributed to their community in various ways. Those present at East Side had a chance to learn something new about the individuals and organizations that received the awards, their activities in the community, and their journeys to the Sierrasota night.

“A lot of things are happening in the Sierra Leonean community and the Africa community in general,” said Fayia, former Sierrasota

president. “A lot of sadness and prayers for those who have gone … and remember the fun summer.”

Mohamed Khan, Sierrasota president

He reminded those present about the Fiscal Cliff, calling it an “American thing,” since African economies have always been “down the cliff” – the crowd laughed!

“People do many things, but they are not recognized,” said Fayia. “… Great people move communities.”

The red and black night also had a positive response with the crowd, getting a few laughs as more than 20 people that “have done things for the community” were called to receive their awards.

Mohamed Khan, president of Sierrasota said many people were unable to participate in the occasion due to illness, but those present should at least “share some love” with each other as the year drew to a close.

“I am very proud of you,” said Khan. “You, actually deserve it.”

Food including fried rice, fried fish, baked and peppered-chicken, etc., was served in a buffet style and award recipients  from the high-table were invited to “help themselves first.”

Khan also thanked the three community organizations: United Sisters, Sierra Leone Community in Minnesota (SLCM), and Tegloma Association for their support.  The fundraising night was capped with prizes through the early wee hours of the night.

Awardee Aruna Wurie in happy mood

“I feel recognized. An encouragement to do more,” said Agatha Nyanda Hindolo, president of United Sisters, a Minnesota-based community social club on receiving her organization’s award. “There is pride in recognition that brings the feeling to do more …you bring people together when you recognize them.”

“It means a lot. I have been coming to many of the community activities,” said Steve Forte, one of the award recipients. “I love my African culture.”

The following were presented certificates in “recognition of their value contribution and dedication in support of social programs in the West African community in Minnesota, USA” according to Sierrasota -Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota:

Mr. Alpha Bah, Mrs. Isatu Bah, Mr. Albert Bangura, Ms. Saliana Bangura, Imam Mohamed Dukuray, Mr. Komba Fayia, Mr. Steve Forte, Mr. Mohamed Jabbie, Mr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, Mr. Karifa Jalloh, Mrs. Rebecca Johnson, Alhaji Alpha Yayah Kabba, Mr. Ismail Kamara, Mr. Osman Kanu, Mrs. Elizabeth Mambu, Mrs. Fatima Massaquoi, Ms. Alicia Momoh, Ms. Julia Tucker, Mr. Aruna Wurie. 


Mr. Hassan Kamara – Tegloma Association;  Mrs. Agatha Nyanda Hindolo – Untied Sisters, MN; Dr. Jonathan Rose – Sierra Leonean Community in Minnesota (SLCM).


PHOTOS: Awards Night on Camera

Tegloma President Mr. Hassan Kamar and Mrs. Kumba Parsons
Mrs. Elizabeth Mambu, Mrs. Parsons and Mr. Kumba Fayia.
Mr. Osman Kanu and Mr. Karifa Jalloh
“Happy Birthday!” All Photos: The AfricaPaper


The AfricaPaper is preparing a Special Report on SIERRASOTA to be published this year. Please send your comments, views, ideas and any source of  information on SIERRASOTA to: DIASPORA FOCUS at The AfricaPaper – email: Subscribe to The AfricaPaper print edition for detail stories – coming out soon.

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