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Local Organization Hopes Diversity Rally Sparks Community Leadership

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Des Moines Metro Organizing for Action organization worked to bring together people of all races, religions, and cultures on Saturday at Drake Park.

“At the present time, there is so much division and hatred in our society against people we don’t even know,” said Debra Franklin.

Franklin says the goal was to get people together who might not meet in everyday life.

“You can walk in their shoes and you can learn that they’re not different from you. They might worship at different places, but we’re all the same,” she said.

On a long-term scale, Franklin says events like these can help make people feel comfortable enough to believe they can become leaders in the community.

“And that’s our ultimate goal, is to make people feel good enough about themselves that they can be leaders,” she said.

Amran Farah immigrated with her family to Des Moines from Somalia in 2007. Now a senior at Roosevelt High School, she says she appreciates the chance to educate people about her culture.

“I really want them to know my side of the story because I feel like just being Muslim female there’s a lot of hate that comes towards that. So just educating them and sharing with them that my culture is nothing but love. I feel like we hide that because we don’t want to feel hate, we don’t want someone to hate our culture. So, I feel like just coming together and talking about our culture and feeling nothing but love, I admire that. I love it,” said Farah.

Farah will be attending Drake University to get her degree in teaching and says she hopes she can continue teaching people about her culture in the future.

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