“My 26th is on you,” and “yeah na, yeah na, yeah na,” are just a few of the phrases you’ll hear buzzing around the Twin Cities metro during Liberian Independence Day celebrations this weekend.
“My 26 on you” means, in a playful manner, you treating me to a good time today or you owe me a treat or I’m expecting a treat from you.
“Yeah na, yeah na, yeah na” is like an exuberant way of saying, I’m here or I agree.
The day reserved to commemorate Liberian independence, achieved in 1822, is July 26.
From the beginning of the Liberian Civil War in 1989, and continuing to its end in 1997, droves of Liberians took refuge in the U.S. to escape the bloodshed. Since 1991, these Liberians entered the country and were authorized to stay through Deferred Enforced Deployment or Temporary Protected Status (DED).
Groups landed in places along the East Coast in cities such as Providence, Philadelphia, and Charlotte. But the most substantial portion of Liberian refugees found stability, solace, and opportunity in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park.
More Liberians live in Minnesota than any other state in the country, another feather in the cap that is the Twin Cities immigrant-welcoming ways.
Liberians have made Minnesota a home, raising children, pursuing an education, and providing for their families, here and back in Liberia. Many in Minnesota are here on temporary DED status that requires the president to grant an extension in order for them to stay.
In 2018, President Donald Trump first decided to deny an extension, effectively deporting Liberians with DED status in March 2019. After reconsidering this, Trump chose instead to grant a final extension, a “wind down,” that ends on March 30, 2020.
Nevertheless, Liberians here in Minnesota gear up to celebrate their country’s independence. They will be observing various traditions and customs along the way, like watching soccer matches and enjoying Liberians treats.
A couple of favorite Liberian snacks include a homemade yogurt known as sour milk, pepper kala, which is a deep-fried breaded snack eaten with pepper sauce, and Kanyan, made with peanuts and a grain called garri.
To gear up for the celebrations, or becoming more familiar with Liberian culture, a little playlist of popular Liberian songs can go a long way in getting pumped and cultured. Check out “Big Papa” by CIC; “Kemah” by Deng; “Number 9” by Eric Geso; “Holy Ghost Fire” by Flex; “Dey Can’t Make it” by D12; “Macaroni” by Pakanah; “Juka” by X-Ten; “Woomi” by Bucky Raw; “Drinking Drinks” by Shine P, “Simple Mistake” by Friday the Cellphone Man; and “Bay Jay” by Sundaygar Dearboy.
Here are Liberian Independence Day events over the weekend:
Liberians from different counties will have booths and will present cultural and traditional artifacts. There will also be traditional music and cultural performances.
Thursday, July 25th 4 pm-8 pm
7001 78th Ave. N. #200, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
Independence Dinner Ball
The big event on the big day will be packed with cultural performances, food and special guests. Tickets are $60 and $200 for VIP. The dress code is formal, so dress to celebrate and impress.
Friday, July 26, 6 pm-12 am
7025 Northland Dr. N., Brooklyn Park, MN 55428
Sports Day offers soccer, kickball, and basketball. The day also features a parade.
Saturday, July 27, 9 am-7 pm
4600 95th Ave. N., Brooklyn Park, MN, 55443
Here’s to independence — and lots of pepper kala!