Last legislative session, Fartun Weli
authored and lobbied for a bill that would help eliminate Somali women's reproductive health disparities.
The bill would have provided $170,000 to Isuroon
, a nonprofit organization that Weli founded that is dedicated primarily to Somali women's health issues.
proposal made it into the health omnibus bill but was blocked because of a language loophole.
"I was heartbroken because I didn't know how bills are funded," Weli
"I wish somebody had told me [how to write a bill]."
is partnering with Steve Sviggum, a University of Minnesota Humphrey School
of Public Affairs legislative fellow, to teach members of the Somali community about state government.
hopes the new knowledge will inspire the Somali community to become more involved at the Capitol in order to eliminate issues like poverty and healthcare inequalities.
"We want to learn and be able to help ourselves," she
"And to do that, we need to learn the basics about how Minnesota is governed."
A 'surprising' partnership
Before meeting Sviggum, Weli contacted University political science professor Larry Jacobs for help.
hopes to introduce a new bill to help Minnesota's Somali community, but she's
not sure yet what it'll look like.
Sviggum has already taken Weli
to the state Capitol and introduced her to a few legislators.
About Fartun Weli
Fartun Weli is the founder and leader of The Isuroon Project, a health-support initiative for Somali immigrant women.
View all posts by Fartun Weli
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