How Ethiopians in the US Cling Onto Their Heritage – BBC News

(Photo: BBC News)

BBC News

By Damian Zane

August 2014

Washington – The traditional music plays and children, some dressed in Ethiopian costume, perform a traditional dance: Raising and lowering their shoulders to the beat.

Like millions of other children in the United States, these American-Ethiopians are at summer camp.

However, this one is about maintaining their connection with their roots abroad.

It is in a regular office block on one of the main roads out of the US capital, Washington DC.

A 21-minute drive away is the grand venue where African heads of state and President Barak Obama are discussing US-Africa relations.

As the leaders try to negotiate a new phase of that relationship, the Ethiopian diaspora community is grappling with how it should relate to back home.

Estimates vary, but there are thought to be more than 200,000 Ethiopians in the Washington metropolitan area, by far the city’s largest and most visible African diaspora group.

While integrated into American life, many of them do not want to lose that connection and are keen for their children to know where they have come from.

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