MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota has one of the largest Liberian populations outside of the country itself. That’s why dozens of people gathered at Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park Saturday evening to celebrate Liberia’s independence.
It was the 168th Independence Day Liberia. Minnesota’s Liberian community leaders say this celebration was special and much-needed after some of the challenges the community faced over the last year.
One pastor said the Ebola outbreak, which originated in West Africa, and the murder of a young Liberian boy named Barway Collins, put the community under scrutiny both from within and outside.
“We saw Liberians in record numbers who were discriminated against,” Pastor Harding Smith said. “We saw it in the workplace, even in school there were children who didn’t want to play with our children.”
Liberian community leaders estimate one-fifth of all Liberians living in the U.S. are in Minnesota.