On January 29, 2017 OYSU Minnesota hosted a “Desserts and Dialogue” event in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The purpose of the event was to bring together young women leaders from the Ogaden American community. The event focused on dialogue around how to enhance representation and leadership of young women within the movement to bring justice and peace to the Ogaden. One of the attendees, Ismahan Abdi pointed out that, “women are among the most vulnerable populations within the Ogaden that face the most hardest punishments under Ethiopian occupation”. Multiple sources including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have reported on the widespread use of rape as a form of collective punishment within the Ogaden by Ethiopian forces. Attendees discussed the importance of having the voices of women to be at the forefront of ensuring justice for the women of the Ogaden.
In addition, the attendees brainstormed various strategies on how to increase advocacy and awareness within the United States about the injustices occurring in the Ogaden. Some of the strategies discussed include, coalition building, social media marketing, and engaging local politicians and representatives. The young women of the Ogaden American community in Minnesota are excited and motivated to continue this work in 2017.