Its mission is to educate Somali individuals and other interested persons regarding civic engagement, voting rights and responsibilities and participation in democracy.
Our organization is based around leadership development. Since we began in 2002, over 375 people have gone through SAA leadership development programs. We are a multi-issue organization that engages the voices of everyone in the Somali community. We also believe in fostering our own independence and not being totally reliant on the gifts of others. Now, in 2011, we have begun to see the results of our work. The Alliance is recognized both within the Somali and mainstream communities as a powerful voice for change, new leaders continue to emerge, relationships with allies are strong and we have launched many successful campaigns. Slowly, we have reshaped the conversation from “there is nothing we can do” to “we can do it.” We were honored by the Headwaters Foundation in 2008 and 2010 with the Justice Award.
Success in leadership development is one of the benchmarks for our work and for our success. We use traditional organizing techniques for recruitment – large meetings, training sessions for community organizing and public policy, all the while providing people opportunities for action. We have also found listening sessions to be effective recruitment tools.
Today, we estimate that our activities have encouraged over 10,000 Somali to become registered voters and exercise their civic responsibility. We have led six different voter participation campaigns all designed to connect our existing organizing work with the election campaigns of relevant public officials.
The Somali Action Alliance Education Fund (SAAEF) was founded in the spring of 2007. Its mission is to educate Somali individuals and other interested persons regarding civic engagement, voting rights and responsibilities and participation in democracy. The SAAEF was created to be the 501(c)(3) arm of the Somali Action Alliance which received its 501(c)(4) status from the IRS in 2005. By working on parallel tracks, the SAAEF provides the benefits of a tax-deductible organization while the Alliance offers the flexibility to lobby and influence legislation.
Ten years on from its inception in 2002, Somali Action Alliance has been expanding through the region, building power of the people through community organizing, civic engagement, leadership development, democratic participation, holding public officials accountable and staying proactively engaged.The ten years may not have gone as smoothly as possible. The next ten won’t either! That doesn’t mean the changes stop here.
During 2009, SAA was part of the Organizing Apprenticeship Project Racial Justice Cohort Partnership. SAA staff and leaders participated in three retreats with staff and leaders from seven other organizations to deepen our understanding of racial justice issues. These trainings were part of our education about how SAA can become more active to bring racial justice issues to the broader community. SAA has built a racial justice core leadership team as a result of the work.
Updated on 2016-09-10T03:16:50+00:00, by .