Dem Lawmakers Announce Legislation Creating Somali-East African Affairs Commission
Bill aims to empower, expand impact of immigrant communities
 
 

State Reps. Adam C. Miller (D-Columbus) and Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus) today introduced legislation that would establish the first-ever Somali-East African Affairs Commission in Ohio, designed to address the unique challenges faced by these communities and empower them to add to Ohio’s growing diversity.


“Columbus looks very different than it did 20 years ago, and today it would be impossible to picture our great city without the Somali community,” said Miller. “Columbus is young, vibrant and growing. We are competing in the global marketplace, and Somali immigrants and their families are important reasons for this growth. This Commission will help ensure that their contributions to communities across Ohio remain strong and supported.”


The Commission would be made up of Ohioans with ethnic, cultural, or economic ties to Somalia or other East African nations. According to the Secretary of State’s office, the Columbus metropolitan area has one of the highest concentrations of Somali refugees in the nation. An estimated 45,000 Somali immigrants have moved to central Ohio in the last decade alone. 


“The Somali and East African communities have had immensely positive impacts not only in Columbus, but across the state,” said Crawley. “However, despite the diversity, talent and economic and cultural benefits they add to Columbus and Ohio, these communities still face discrimination and unique challenges every day. More work must be done to ensure that their needs are met, and I believe creating this Commission is a great first step forward.”


The Commission’s duties will include:


—Gathering and disseminating information, conduct hearings, conferences, investigations, and special studies on problems and programs concerning Somali and East African people.


—Establishing appropriate recognition of the accomplishments and contributions of Somali and East African people to this state.


—Stimulate public awareness of the problems faced by Somali and East African people by conducting a program of public education.


—Developing, coordinating, and assisting other public and private organizations that serve Somali and East African people, including the conducting of training programs for community leadership and service project staff.


—Advising the governor, General Assembly, and state departments and agencies of the nature, magnitude, and priorities of the problems faced by Somali and East African people.


—Advising the governor, General Assembly, and state departments and agencies on and assisting in the development and implementation of, comprehensive policies, programs, and procedures focusing on the unique problems and needs of Somali and East African people in the fields of education, employment, energy, health, housing, welfare, and recreation.


—Proposing new programs concerning Somali and East African people to public and private agencies and evaluating for such agencies existing programs or prospective legislation concerning Somali and East African people.


—Reviewing and approving grants to be made from federal, state, or private funds that are administered or subcontracted by the office of Somali and East African affairs.


—Providing and coordinating the exchange of information relative to the needs of Somali and East African people and promoting the delivery of state services to such people.


After its introduction, the new legislation will receive a bill number and assignment to a committee for further consideration.

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts

Rep. Crawley Announces $300 Million To Help Colleges, Universities, And K-12 Schools Prepare For Fall Semester Amid COVID-19

 

State Rep. Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus) announced Monday the state Controlling Board approved another round of federal funding to support Ohio’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, including $300 million in federal funding to offset Ohio’s K-12 schools and colleges and university’s costs of keeping students and staff safe in the fall. 



 
 

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Pushes To Declare Racism A Public Health Crisis In Ohio

 

The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) today introduced legislation that would declare racism a public health crisis, echoing similar calls in Cleveland and Franklin County. The resolution, if passed, would be the first of its kind passed at the state level.



 
 

House Democratic Veteran Caucus Members Call For Reversal Of "hard Stop" Orders For National Guard

 

House DemocraticMembers of the Veteran Caucus today sent a letter to Governor DeWine calling on him to urge President Trump to rescind his orders ending National Guard deployments. The letter, signed by state Reps. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo), Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson), Erica Crawley (D-Columbus) and Mike Sheehy (D-Oregon), notes that the “hard stop” for deployments falls one day short of the 90-day threshold where National Guard service members would qualify to receive early retirement, education, among other benefits.



 
 

Reps. Crawley, Crossman Call For Further Action To Limit Coronavirus Spread In Overcrowded State Prisons

 

State Reps. Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus) and Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) today issued statements following approval of early release for some 141 state prisoners serving sentences for low-level, non-violent offenses. The Democratic lawmakers called for further action to address health and safety concerns in Ohio prisons, which have already seen deaths from COVID-19.