The World Is Watching Ilhan Omar, 1st Refugee And 1st Somali-American Woman Elected To Congress
In a string of historic firsts, Ilhan Omar, 36, won her race in Minneapolis, becoming the first refugee, first Somali-American and one of the first two Muslim-American women elected to the House of Representatives — poetic justice given the anti-Muslim rhetoric that helped ram President Donald Trump to power in 2016.
Congratulatory tweets poured into Omar’s Twitter feed from all over the world including emotional tributes thanking her for giving hope to women and refugees.
“You have shown hope to millions of people in Africa especially refugees that you can make it nomatter what the obstacles will be.” –Abdirashid Khalif, Twitter
“Inshallah we will create a world where every woman is respected.” — Bridget Kromhout, Twitter
A policy analyst, human rights activist, coalition builder and community educator, Omar ran on a progressive agenda that included pushing for a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for all, abolishing ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency) and subsidizing higher education costs for low-income students.
Born in Mogadishu and raised in Baydhabo, Somalia, Omar spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp after fleeing Somalia’s civil war. Her family immigrated to the U.S. when she was 12. She became a symbol of hope around the world in 2016 when she was the first Somali-American elected to state legislature.
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Omar won a seat in the 5th Congressional District, which represents Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs. She is replacing Rep. Keith Ellison, one of the highest-ranking Muslim elected officials in the U.S. Ellison won his bid to be Minnesota’s next attorney general despite facing accusations of domestic abuse from a former girlfriend. He announced in June that he would withdraw his bid for re-election to Congress.
The 5th Congressional District has not sent a Republican to Congress since 1962. Omar often speaks out against Trump’s travel ban against Muslim-majority countries, Salon reported.
Here in Minnesota, we don’t only welcome immigrants; we send them to Washington,” Omar told supporters at a victory party in Minneapolis.
Omar joins Rashida Tlaib in the House of Representatives. A Palestinian American, Tlaib won her race in Detroit, replacing outgoing Democratic Rep. John Conyers, who resigned in 2017 amid sexual misconduct allegations.
Omar, who came to the U.S. more than 20 years ago, tweeted thanks to her volunteers and supporters for “believing in the possibility of this moment.”
In 2016, she became the first Somali-American, Muslim legislator in the U.S. when she was elected to serve in Minnesota’s House of Representatives in District 60B, according to her campaign website. She and her campaign team increased voter turnout by 37 percent.
— TIME (@TIME) September 7, 2017
We did this, together.
Thank you! pic.twitter.com/TywZwt2dR3
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 7, 2018
Congratulations my sister for winning the seat. You have shown hope to millions of people in Africa especially refugee that you can make it no matter what the obstacles will be. Hambalyo👍👍👍
— Abdirashid Khalif🔛 (@khalif2030) November 7, 2018
I’m so happy! Inshallah we will create a world where every woman is respected no matter what she wears or believes!
— Bridget Kromhout (@bridgetkromhout) November 7, 2018
Congrats! I’m an Iraq war veteran, I voted for you, and I’m proud that you will represent me in Washington!
— rashasha2112 (@Rashasha2112) November 7, 2018
This young lady won by 78% . Let that sink in… don’t give up on America…still great hope and lots of good in this country.
— Libman (@Libman94299151) November 7, 2018
— Le cordon (@_LeCordon_) November 7, 2018
— Sabine Aussenac ♀☯ (@SabineAussenac) November 7, 2018
Wonderful, Somali community is Rising!
— Mohamed sahal (@IftiinSahal) February 7, 2018
Congratulations from Tanzania baby!
— Khalifa Said (@RealKhalifax) November 7, 2018
Huge congratulations on your amazing achievement against all odds, from an Irish woman watching from Vancouver.
— Margaret O'Sullivan (@MagsOS) November 7, 2018
From Australia – I'm so proud of you!! Congratulations and bless you! <3
— Tineke Cannon (@CannonTineke) November 7, 2018
Congratulations from Indonesia. Great movement for woman, moslem and minority voices. Sending lovee.
— Kalis Mardiasih (@mardiasih) November 7, 2018