A bit of good news: First Somali-American woman elected to US Congress
Ilhan Omar, a candidate for State Representative for District 60B in Minnesota, gives an acceptance speech on election night, November 8, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (AFP/Stephen Maturen)
As millions of Americans and people around the world watched, stunned as Donald Trump was voted into the White House, there was at least one glimmer of hope for opponents to the Republican candidate.
Minnesota elected Ilhan Omar, a 34-year-old Somali-American to the House of Representatives, beating out a Republican opponent, the Guardian reported. Omar, an observant Muslim who wears the hijab, managed to win after a difficult campaign and in a year in which the American Muslim community was increasingly the target of hate crimes.
Omar came to the US 20 years ago at the age of 14 after living in a refugee camp in Kenya.
“Tonight, we are celebrating this win, our win. But our work won’t stop,” she said after her victory. “We will continue to build a more prosperous and equitable district, state and nation where each and every one of us has opportunities to thrive and move forward together.”
Omar's victory comes just days after Trump bashed the Somali community while campaigning in Minnesota.
“Here in Minnesota, you’ve seen firsthand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with very large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval,” Trump said days before the election. “Some of them [are] joining Isis [Daesh] and spreading their extremist views all over our country and all over the world.”
Omar is no stranger to resistance against her involvement in politics: two years ago she was beaten into a concussion during a caucus session that turned violent.
She previously worked as a community organizer empowering African American women and is currently the director of policy at Women Organizing Women Network.
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