Message from the Executive Director
It's been a very long six months for DAWN. Certainly far too long since we sent our last newsletter! When I returned from Kenya in late July, I became immersed with my work at Oxfam around the massive emergency in East Africa, where 13 million people across five east African countries have been facing the worst drought in sixty years and millions in southern Somalia were suffering from famine, both which still continue to this day.
Like so many other African diaspora, I found myself personally and professionally pulled between my life here and the needs there. I couldn't focus on much else and the crisis became all I could think about. My heart and mind were heavy with the massive needs of 13 million people. As a result, DAWN had to switch gears and we laid low with our outreach and marketing while our programs continued.
I realized that for real change and impact, my heart and attention must continue with DAWN and the diaspora, fully and completely. That's why I've decided to leave my policy work in DC and make it official. We are finally becoming a full time non-profit organization and will expand nationally in the new year.
As of January 2012, I'll be based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, home to one of the largest Horn of Africa and Liberian diaspora communities in the United States, and continue building DAWN's foundation. Our DC chapter will continue and we look forward to starting chapters in other cities, like New York and San Francisco.
I thank you for believing in us and supporting DAWN over the years. If you would like to help us with our expansion, as a volunteer, advisor, or future donor, please contact us at email@example.com! 2012 is the year for more great things to come and we are ready for it! Like our saying goes, we must be Fearless in Our Excellence!
Executive Director and Founder of DAWN
DAWN in the News| Harnessing a Drive to Serve
After a very busy fall and winter season, DAWN was pleasantly surprised to be featured in this State Department and Allafrica.com five-part series highlighting diaspora social entrepreneurs and organizations focused on Africa.
DAWN's Executive Director Semhar Araia was interviewed during the Africa Gathering DC event in Washington, D.C.
To learn more about DAWN, its vision and long term goals, read the full article here.
A Look Back at DAWN's 4th Annual Dinner | July 2011
Earlier this year, DAWN celebrated its fourth birthday on Pan-African Women's Day, July 30th, 2011.
The evening kicked off with an introduction to our 2011-2012 theme, "Fearless in Our Excellence". Executive Director Semhar Araia spoke about the power of knowing, owning and celebrating your excellence. The Programs department also unveiled its plans to launch DIGS, the DAWN Interest Groups (DIGs), to highlight the various professional areas of expertise DAWNers are focusing on for Africa.
Looking back over the years, it's exciting to note our growth since 2007. From the back of a crowded restaurant in 2008, to a private room at the new Africare building in 2009 and finally to the Beacon Hotel in 2010! We keep growing and are excited to find the next venue for our fifth anniversary in July 2012!
A special thank you goes to all the event volunteers for your hard work & flexibility: Kaade Wallace, Christelle Gorman, Tasha Coleman, Bora Mpinja, Nina Oduro, Minia Mikael Debass, Martha Haile, and Nkechi Mbanu. You helped make the night a wonderful success!
For pictures from the dinner, click here!
DAWN's AIDS Walk Washington Service Project | October 2011
On Saturday, October 29th, DAWN members braved the freezing rain and joined thousands in the 25th annual AIDS Walk Washington. This 5K fundraising walk and timed run benefited Whitman-Walker Health, raising nearly one million dollars! DAWN met its fundraising goal right in time for the early morning walk!
Thank you to Team DAWN! Huge thank you and job well done to DAWNers Bora Mpinja, Elizabeth Mugala, Mary Mugala, and Felicia Alderman who not only donated, but also walked in the freezing rain at 7 am!
None of this could have happened without the leadership of DAWNer Bora Mpinja, who served as our fantastic DAWN AIDS Walk Washington Coordinator! Kudos for organizing such a successful service project!
DAWN at Africa Gathering DC | November 2011
This November, over 100 of Africa's best and brightest diaspora thinkers and social entrepreneurs attended Africa Gathering's two-day conference in Washington, D.C.
Titled "From Art to Technology, Health to Entrepreneurship: Who's Making It Happen?", DAWN was invited with other organizations to present its work to the conference participants.
Executive Director Semhar Araia introduced the vision behind DAWN to help Africa's next generation of diaspora leaders be "Fearless in Our Excellence". She also went over the organization's long term goals including increasing the visibility and contributions of women from the African diaspora on African affairs.
DAWN was honored to join such an esteemed group of speakers, including Ghanaian economist George Ayittey and representatives from Project Diaspora, Solar Sister, the World Bank and the State Department.
The greatest part of the conference was networking with so many like-minded, passionate, successful Africa thinkers & supporters! We were pleased to see over fifteen DAWNers in attendance! Thank you to Africa Gathering for creating such a vital platform for us to meet!
For pictures from the event, visit our DAWN Flickr page!
DAWN Launches Thought Leader Thursdays #TLTAfrica | November 2011
On November 16, DAWN launched the official Thought Leader Thursdays tweet up, to be held every month in the Washington Metropolitan area and elsewhere.
For 2 hours, a room full of Africa diaspora Twitter addicts, newbies, and networkers met and shared their visions and plans to contribute to Africa's growth. We spent most of the night talking, but did manage to take a few pictures in between!
DAWN is proud to sponsor TLTAfrica tweetups and invite you to join us! If you would like to help organize these tweetups or are in another city and want to host your own #TLTAfrica event, let us know!
Next #TLTAFrica is January 12, 2012. RSVP here and follow us on Twitter @DAWNInc for more details!
DAWN 2011 Holiday Gift Drive | December 2011
For this year's holiday season, DAWN partnered with the African Immigrant Refugee Foundation (AIRF) to fundraise for two African immigrant families AIRF has identify as being in need. In less than one month, DAWN raised $325 for one family from Cameroon and another from the Democratic Republic of Congo, just in time for 2012!
On Martin Luther King Service Day, January 16, DAWN members will present the gift to the families at AIRF's Washington, DC office. Our hope is to have a group of DAWN members and supporters who can represent the Africa diaspora experience and meet families who are going through a similar experience. If you are interested in joining us to present the gift on January 16, please email Kaade Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of our mission, DAWN is committed to helping minority and immigrant communities through service projects. We are honored to support AIRF and thank everyone for their generous donations!
DAWNer of the Month
Asmara Sium has 10 years of professional and personal experience in African immigrant and refugee policy work. Originally from Eritrea, Asmara has an international human rights law background and specializes in immigrant integration efforts and immigration reform.
She is actively involved in African immigrant community socio-economic, cultural and health initiatives and currently serves as Chairwoman of the Commission on African Affairs under the Executive Office of Mayor Vincent Gray in Washington, DC. Asmara is also Chairwoman of the African Advisory Committee to the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and eagerly seeks to create ways to better attract the African Diaspora to the museum and promote the high quality of African art housed within its walls.
Asmara's previous experience includes serving as lead coordinator for health fairs, legal clinics and conferences to encourage greater awareness of and response to the needs of African immigrant communities, specifically African immigrant youth. She holds an Honors Master of Arts degree in International Human Rights Law and Refugee Studies and an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and African Studies. She also holds a certificate in Executive Non-Profit Management, and maintains membership in the Capital Area Immigrants Rights Coalition and Smithsonian cultural institutions.
Congratulations Asmara! We are so proud you are a DAWNer!
Five seeds of hope for Somalia
No Somali mother should have to choose which child to pick up and feed, and which toddler to lay down and "leave him behind to his God on the road." Read More
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What: Thought Leader Thursdays TLTAfrica Happy Hour
Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM EST
Where: DoubleTree 15 Ria Bar,1515 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington, DC
24- Tafadzwa Pasipanodya
29- Medesse Sonou