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From refugee to Red Flannel Queen

Red Flannel Queen Mumina Ciise (left) is shown here on Red Flannel Day with Library Director Donna Clark, and court members Kaley Louck and Madison Case. Photo courtesy of the Red Flannel Festival.

Red Flannel Queen Mumina Ciise (left) is shown here on Red Flannel Day with Library Director Donna Clark, and court members Kaley Louck and Madison Case. Photo courtesy of the Red Flannel Festival.

By Judy Reed

For Mumina Ciise, being chosen as the 2016 Red Flannel Queen is a dream come true. And not all that long ago, this special event would never have seemed possible for Mumina or her family—a family that was just struggling to stay safe in war torn Somalia.

Mumina’s parents, Max and Maryan, fled Somalia with their seven children, due to civil war, when Mumina was only three-years-old. They hid below deck in a ship that was transporting livestock so they wouldn’t be seen escaping. The family thought they were going to Italy, but wound up in Turkey, where they stayed a few years. While there, Mumina’s older sister Fatima died of an intestinal disorder, and Max’s health deteriorated. They then decided to try to come to America. And with the help of the U.S. Embassy and other organizations, they were accepted to come to the United States as refugees.

After a year in Lansing, the family came to Cedar Springs in 2010, and ended up living in a two-bedroom apartment in town. People from the school and community made the family feel welcome, and helped meet their needs in many ways. Then, in 2015, they realized the dream of owning their own home when the Inner City Christian Federation approved them for a home to be built on a vacant lot on Cedar Street.

Mumina is very happy here. “I have lived in Cedar Springs for longer than I have lived anywhere else. Cedar Springs is my home. My friends, school, teachers, and church are all here!” she said.

The help that teachers here have given her has

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