Postville Project Oral Histories: Community Voices

Community Voices: The Postville Oral History Project Recording with Salat Elmi


Salat Elmi



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Interview Conducted by RaeAnn Swanson-Evans

Interview Transcribed by RaeAnn Swanson-Evans


Elmi, Salat--Interviews; Postville Immigration Raid, Postville, Iowa, 2008;


Oral History

Interview Description

Salat Elmi was born in Somalia and spent years in a refugee camp in Kenya after a civil war broke out in Somalia. In 2008, Salat moved to Seattle and eventually settled in Postville in 2010. At the time of the interview Salat worked as the Adult Literacy Liaison for the Postville School providing services and resources to families of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In the interview Salat discusses his involvement with the Diversity Council, events that occurred in Postville or neighboring towns, and his experience working and living in Postville. Although Salat was not living in Postville at the time of the raid, he was able to comment on some of the ramifications of the 2008 ICE raid. The interview closes with Salat’s hopes for the future of Postville and the Somali community in Postville as well as some of the positive changes he has seen over the years. Salat also answers many questions that people may have about Somali culture, because he believes that spreading knowledge can help combat false stereotypes.

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Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | United States History

Project Title

Community Voices: The Postville Oral History Project

Project Description

The Community Voices: Postville Oral History Project sought to capture the remembered past of those who experienced the “Postville story,” that is, the social context leading up to, including, and following the ICE immigration raid that occurred on May 12th, 2008. The Interviews available here showcase the unique memories of 16 interviewees living and working in or near Postville. The interviews will leave listeners with a sense of how a small town in rural Iowa has dealt with and continues to deal with vast demographic change and the aftermath of an ICE raid that threw Postville into the national conversation on immigration reform.


Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa


©2014 The Postville Project

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



Community Voices: The Postville Oral History Project Recording with Salat Elmi


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