The Oromo people, numbering more than 40 million, are bound by common history, culture, language, and above all?by Oromumma. They constitute well over 40% of Ethiopia?s total population and are the second largest single nationality group in Africa. They have their own unique language (Afaan Oromo), culture, and democratic governance (the Gada system).
The Oromo have been fleeing and continue to flee their homeland, Oromia, due to political persecution, economic injustices and human rights abuses perpetrated against them merely because of their ethnicity. Having been collectively subjected to prosecution, the Oromo have a shared vision and common destiny. At the same time, they have different views on how to overcome their collective challenges, and belong to different religious persuasions.
It is estimated that more than ten thousand Oromo immigrants and refugees live in the Washington metropolitan area?the second largest concentration of Oromo in the United States (only after the State of Minnesota). Most of those who are here have lived through experiences of imprisonment, torture, or internment in their homeland and refugee camps in neighboring states. A significant number of them are separated from?their loved ones and have lost their?properties. They do not have established families in the USA. Like other refugee and immigrant groups, they face many barriers to becoming self-sufficient, including language and cultural barriers.
The Oromo Community Organization (OCO) of the Washington Metropolitan Area was established in 1988 to assist Oromo refugees to overcome challenges they face in their adopted homeland. The?OCO is a tax-exempt, service providing organization within the meaning of section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, created to serve the interests of its members.
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