By Okon Ekpenyong
Monday, March 6, 2023, the Ghanaians in Central Ohio celebrated their 66th independence with a flag-raising ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse following a five-part celebration to commemorate their independence from Great Britain.
In 1957, civil rights icon and former Southern Christian Leadership Conference president Dr. Martin Luther King Jr attended the country’s Independence Day celebration. As Africa’s second most populous country after Nigeria, such a visit was vital to the country. Ghana lies near the Atlantic Ocean in the south, along with the ivory coast, Burkina Faso, and to go in the west.
On Friday, March 3, 2023, the Ghanaian Council of Central Ohio welcomed its community members and kicked off the celebration at the LivingRoom Restaurant and Lounge in Columbus. It organized a concert featuring Ghanaian artist, Stonebwoy on Saturday, March 4, at the Forum in Columbus. They also had a Thanksgiving service at Pentecost North Assembly on Sunday, March 5, and hosted a brunch party at Alley Burger on March 5.
Ghana was the first in Sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence from colonial rule on March 6, 1956. This day is a public and national holiday in Ghana; therefore, many businesses will close to allow citizens to attend community gatherings or events.
Friends and families heard from several community leaders and Ghanaians about the country’s rich history and its members’ outstanding contributions to developing such a strong immigrant and refugee community throughout Central Ohio.
In Ghana, the celebration also involves food, specifically jollof rice. It’s a West African dish that combines rice, meat, and vegetables. Peanut soup is also the local’s favorite, or they may have waakye, which contains rice and beans with millet leaves.
Harrison Poku, who works as a Legislative Advisor & Community Engagement for the city of Columbus received the Prestigious award for his dedication to improving the lives of Ghanaian children and youth in Central Ohio through mentorship. State Representative Ismail Mohamed awarded the Ghana Council of Ohio and its partners a recognition for organizing Ghana’s 66th Independence Day celebration.
Dontavius Jarrells, representing Ohio District 1, Ismail Mohamed himself, representing District 3, and Rep Munira Abdullah, representing district 9, have all signed the acknowledgment. These three districts are home to a large number of Ghanaian community members. The three representatives have worked with the Ghana council year-round to address disparities or attend cultural events.
Ms. Cynthia Engmann, President of Ghana Council of Ohio, Secretary Ophelia Amoah-Acquah, Treasurer Ms. Ocloo, and Financial Secretary Patrick Osbourne and their members helped organize this year’s 66th Independence Day celebration in Central Ohio.
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