New African Immigrants Commission

Ibrahim Sow

After years of inaction, Ohio’s New African Immigrants Commission came together pretty suddenly.

“We sat two years idle and did not hear anything,” says Ibrahima Sow. “And then out of the blue just a couple months ago, some of us started receiving calls from the governor’s office.”

Rick Buchanan/USGLC

Despite the fast growth of Ohio's African community, Seleshi Asfaw says one thing has remained constant: "At a state level, we are not represented. Our voice is not heard." 

SomaliCAN

In 2008, state lawmakers promised Ohio's growing African immigrant population a commission to address their needs. The New African Immigrants Commission, which would have an 11-person board, was supposed to start up the next year.