253 PEACE QUEEN

U.S. Expat reveals life as a Black person in Norway

Lisa Cooper, U.S. expatriate, arrived in Norway 30 years ago when she says she followed her partner here. She was born African American in Queens New York. Melannie sought her out online as a highly successful Black woman in Norway in an effort to asses the aspects of racial reconciliation in this nation.

She told Melannie that as one of only 3 percent of the population her life was a bit uncomfortable at first. “People would stare at me and point at me on the street.” But she said things are much better now because there are more people who look like her. Nearly 17 percent of Norwegians are immigrants.

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Lisa explained that she has been working extensively in the past few years to assist immigrants who are less fortunate than she was when she arrived. She has helped people from Somalia, Pakistan, Eritrea and other developing countries.

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Lisa said she had two sons and Melannie asked if she was as fearful for her sons here in Norway as African American mothers are in the U.S. Lisa said absolutely not. “Police in Norway don’t carry guns.”

Melannie immediately asked, “What in the world do they use to maintain the peace?”

“They use their words, ” Lisa replied.

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Peace Queen meets Second Speaker of the Sami Parliament

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Tor Gunnar Nystad met with the Peace Queen to discuss the plight of the Sami people in Norway. The Sámi people are indigenous people living in the north of Europe. Sámi communities exist in northern Norway (60,000-100,000), Sweden (15,000-25,000), Finland (6,400) and on Russian Kola peninsula (2,000).

The Second Speaker told Melannie that his people have been discriminated for centuries much like indigenous people around the world. He also explained how the Sami parliament is the representative body for people of Sami heritage in Norway. It acts as an institution of cultural autonomy for the Sami People.

The Parliament was opened in 1989. It currently has 39 representatives, who are elected every four years by direct vote from 7 constituencies.

The Peace Queen shared with the Second Speaker the idea that officially counting your numbers, census taking,  may be a powerful tool against oppression. Melannie mentioned the Black Census as a good template to begin the process in Norway for the Sami people. “You don’t have to wait for the government to count your numbers, you can do it yourself,” she said.

Tor was intrigued.