Transfer of OCO Leadership

Through an election process that was fully transparent, democratic and peaceful, the Oromo Community Organization of the Washington DC metropolitan area carried out a peaceful transition of power on June 24, 2016. The 9-member Board of Directors convened at the Oromo House to elect from among themselves leaders who would serve in the positions of President, Vice President, Executive Director, Executive Secretary and Executive member for a two-year term. Prior to the intra-committee elections to replace outgoing members of the Board, the General Assembly elected 5 leaders to be added…

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OCO Requests Language Access for District?s Oromo Residents

Washington DC?The President of the Board of the Oromo Community of Washington DC, Dr. Desta Yebessa was among 75 witnesses who testified in support of At-Large DC Council Member Grosso?s Bill to expand language access to residents at a public hearing jointly convened by council members David Grosso, Kenyan McDuffie and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson on ?Language Access for Education Amendment Act of 2015.?The act was introduced by Council member Grosso on February 3, 2015. Reflecting on the purpose of the hearing, David Steib, Eqs., Director of Language Access ,…

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OCO President Testified in front of the Council of the District of Columbia

Dr. Desta Yebassa, OCO Board President and Project Manager, testified in front of the Council of the District of Columbia, chaired by Ms. Anita Bonds on May 6, 2015. The Oromo Community Organization of Washington DC joined numerous community and non-profit organizations in advocating for increases in funding for their own organizations as well as for the Mayor?s Office on African Affairs, which has helped provide grants to qualifying non-profit organizations over the years. OCO President explained to the Council that the Oromo make up ?over 40% of Ethiopia?s total…

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DC Budget Cut & Financial Concerns by Community Organizations

In their testimonies, the President of OCO and leaders of many other non-profits expressed their concern that drastic budget cuts by the District of Columbia government will negatively affect their ability to provide social services to the communities they serve. Witnesses representing the African communities in and around the Washington DC metropolitan area pointed out the disparity in budget allocated to the Office on African Affairs, which they said receives the smallest fund ($100,000) compared to other agencies serving Asian or Latino populations, for instance. This is despite OAA?s representation…

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The interest that is not ‘special’

This commentary was first published on January 18 2017 on the online version of Addis Standard . The author, Dr. Tsegaye R. Ararssa of Melbourne Law School may be reached at?tsegayer@gmail.com. When Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn?indicated last weekthat a draft law was prepared on the ?special interest? of Oromia in Finfinnee (aka Addis Abeba), discussions have resurfaced on the issue of the status of the city and its relations with Oromia. Last week, I had the privilege of discussing the matter in a couple of radio interviews where, inter alia,…

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Response from US Dept Of State to an Appeal Letter Jointly Submitted On May 9, 2014

In letter dated June 2,2014, the US department of state , Assistant secretary for African Affairs responded to the Appeal letter jointly submitted by the Oromo Community Organization(OCO) , the Oromo Youth Self-help Association (OYSA), the International Oromo Women Organization (IOWO), and the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA). In the letter, the assistant secretary mentioned concerns about the death of Oromo students. The assistant secretary also mentioned protecting human right is the key component of US?s foreign policy worldwide,?Click here to read the letter

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Oromo Protests – What and Why?

Oromos have been staging protest rallies across the vast Oromia regional state of Ethiopia since April of 2014. The protests are against the systematic marginalization and persecution of the Oromo people by the federal government of Ethiopia. The immediate trigger of the protest was a development plan that sought to expand the territorial limits of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, into neighboring Oromo villages and towns. Oromos saw the proposed master plan as a land grab, a blueprint for annexation which would further accelerate the eviction of Oromo farmers from their…

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