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In Profile: Sorie Tarawally

5 June 2012 No Comment
June 4, 2012

Sorie Tarawally is a dual citizen, sharing national pride between his native Sierra Leone and his new home, the United States. He came to this country in 1972 after graduating high school in his home city Freetown, and his first stop was a bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Sorie knew he wanted to to pursue a law degree, and looked at a variety of law schools across the southeast.


The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) was his final choice; he was aware of the 1962 riots on the university campus after James Meredith became the first black man to enroll at the previously all-white university. Sorie felt good about, as he puts it, “continuing the tradition.” He enjoyed his time at the university and made a number of good friends. After graduating in 1985, he was a law clerk with the Mississippi Supreme Court, and opened a private law practice in 1986. As a plaintiff’s attorney, he focuses on insurance claims, medical malpractice suits, workers compensation, and injury claims. He was appointed an Assistant Hinds County Attorney in 2000, and continues in that role today.


Though Sorie has established himself here in the US, he retains a very strong interest in the progress of his native Sierra Leone. He has experienced true democracy, and envisions a similar future for Sierra Leone. He knows that the country is making progress – so far, the country has held three free and fair elections. He says that his people don’t take their voting rights for granted. He will be traveling back to Sierra Leone in the fall to participate and cast his vote in the upcoming elections.


Sorie is proud to serve on the MIRA Board of Directors, and says that his voice and perspective are essential because he is an immigrant himself. He came to the US with a student visa, and obtained the resident alien status through the Immigration Reform & Control Act of 1986. But there were several times when he drifted in and out of legal status, and he knows the challenges faced by immigrants. He became a US citizen only recently, in 2008, in order to gain voting rights so that he could cast his ballot in support of Obama.


MIRA, Sorie says, provides a voice for voiceless and rejected people. They look out for the rights and best interest of immigrants, especially in this political climate where so-called “illegal aliens” have no vote. MIRA also helps negate the catalog of misperceptions regarding immigrants. It’s one organization that’s championing the cause of the immigrant, and Sorie envisions that this advocacy will continue making an impact in Mississippi and the South.


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