Hukun Abdullahi feels at home in Moorhead

 Hukun Abdullahi, Afro American Development Association

Life in Moorhead has meant something once unimaginable to Somalian immigrant Hukun Adow Abdullahi. It has meant he can go to college.

“Moorhead is a peaceful city compared to where I came from,” Abdullahi said. “Moorhead is a place where a teenager, an immigrant kid, can start a new life and be successful. I can’t believe the life I am living right now compared to the previous years. Now I am chasing an American dream just like any other American.”

His mother fled warring Somalia to safety in a neighboring country, leaving Abdullahi and his younger brothers with their grandmother. Schools closed in the face of continuous fighting, and he remembers tribal fighters using the school as their base of operations. He was 14 when his family heard their mother had been resettled in the Fargo-Moorhead area. He and his family then moved to Nairobi, Kenya, a safe place where they were able to communicate with their mother.

She arranged for her sons to join her. In 2014, Abdullahi began attending M-State-Moorhead, where he studies human relations and founded the Afro American Development Association. The group helps immigrants to navigate their new communities, and also assists Africans around the world. Abdullahi serves as executive director of the association, which has grown to five full-time and one part-time employee. Abdullahi received a 2017 Fargo Human Relations Award for making a difference in the lives of hundreds of New Americans who have resettled in Fargo and Moorhead, and for promoting diversity, acceptance and solidarity.

“I love Moorhead,” he said. “People here are welcoming and I feel like I am at home. This is where I want to build my life in the future.”

Steve Henning