Ft. Morgan Community Center Helps Somalis Adapt

Ft. Morgan Community Center Helps Somalis Adapt

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We have reported before on the challenges Somali refugees and other African immigrants have faced in adapting to life in Greeley, CO. Well, Africans in Fort Morgan have also had their share of troubles, which culminated in a recent automobile accident. This accident, the most serious of a number of accidents involving African immigrants spurred the formation of a local community center aimed at helping newcomers adapt.

Ivan Moreno of the Associated Press reported on the accident and ensuing reaction:

On June 1, an immigrant who didn’t understand English-language traffic signs entered the wrong side of Interstate 76 and collided with another car. The 65-year-old recent arrival, Ali Aden, and a passenger were seriously injured. Passenger Mohamed Najji Mohamed, 44, was killed. A Surprise, Ariz., resident in the other car suffered minor injuries, the Colorado State Patrol said. The wreck provoked some local resentment toward the 650-strong African community — mostly Somali — that either lives or works in Fort Morgan, a town that otherwise has overwhelmingly welcomed the newcomers.

Hoping to help Somalis and other African immigrants adjust more successfully to their new home, locals have opened the Morgan African Community Center to teach English language and the rules of the road.

Like many Africans in Greeley, those in Ft. Morgan were drawn there by a large meat packing plant, in this case Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. Fortunately, workers at Cargill say they have had no such problems as those encountered at the Swift meat packing plant in Greeley.

Read the full AP article here.

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