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Run To Unite Raises Cash For Somalia, Awareness For Minn.

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community in North America. Starting in the 90s, the Twin Cities became a safe haven for tens of thousands wanting to escape war and famine. On Saturday, hundreds took part in the Run to Unite event to raise awareness about the famine in Somalia.

Some events move a community forward. At Minnehaha Park, a two-mile walk covered a distance that will ultimately reach half way around the world.

“We all want to give back, just because we came here as immigrants and refugees,” said Saadia Mohamed, of St. Paul.

Like the paper chain that lined the Run to Unite course, the Somali community hoped to build a link between their former home and Minnesota by offering financial help to countries still plagued by war and famine.

“I feel there’s a disconnect, because people who are here feel comfortable in their jobs and homes,” said Rashid Hiss Sek, of Minneapolis.

But each step didn’t just helping their homeland. It also helped end misconceptions of an entire community.

On the heels of Thursday’s conviction of Mahamud Said Omar, who recruited young Minnesotan men to help a Somalia terror group, many saw an opportunity to touch the local community.

“We are hard-working people who live here, who care about the community here and have nothing to do with the negativity going on,” Hiss Sek said.

The walk was a step toward raising awareness, not just across the world, but also here at home.

The Run to Unite event raised $90,000 for relief efforts. To learn more go to

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