Reconciliation process kicks off amongst Liberians in Minnesota

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The former Executive Director of the Liberian Ministerial Association (LMA), Reverend Father James Wilson, over the weekend hosted “A Community Reconciliation Meeting” to address what he termed “Division in the Liberian community in Minnesota” at his home in Brooklyn Park. Deacon Edgar Badio, a well-respected elder in the community, presided over the meeting.

“Our community is falling apart and we need to come together to discuss what best can be done to help solve the problems”, said Father Wilson, an Episcopal priest.

The discussion produced some very frank exchanges, mostly focused on what constitutes the problems that are deepening the division in the Liberian community. However, full details of the meeting were not immediately released, as an understanding to prevent premature media coverage was reportedly arranged by the organizers. This way, a mediator opined, the process would not lend itself to early misinterpretation.

The meeting did not reach any major conclusions because the OLM President left to attend a prescheduled engagement, almost 30 minutes into the discussion. The meeting, however, continued after his departure, allowing for a number of participants to speak their minds about issues they believe are stifling progress in the community.

Participants included: Kerper Dwanyen, President of the Organization of Liberians in Minnesota (OLM), Jackson George, former Vice-President and a contestant in the just ended 2007 OLM elections, Benoni Tarr Grimes, Publisher of People-to-People News Network, Edward William Carter, President of the Liberian Community in Minnesota—St. Paul, Seyon Nyanwleh, President of Assa Sports Association, Oblayon B. K. Nyemah, member of the President’s team, Amara Kamara, former Chairman of OLM Sports Committee, Abdullah Kiatamba, Publisher of The Liberian Journal and former Acting Chairman of the Board of Directors of OLM, Jesse Mongrue, a community advocate, Edgar Badio and Kla Bleh Seton, community elders, and Sam Norris, OLM’s newly-appointed St. Paul Coordinator.

The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, August 2, 2008 at 12 noon, at the residence of Father James Wilson in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.