The United States mid term elections was characterized by a number of trailblazing campaigns spearheaded by several women shattering the glass-ceilings.
Somali born refugee Ilhan Omar, is a part of group of women who
have broken barriers this election. She is now one of the first Somali-American Muslim women elected to Congress in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District on Tuesday November 6.
The journey was not easy for Omar who spent the last four years as a legislator, a seat she had to fight a Titanic battle to get. Her previous campaign was marred by claims of bigotry and polygamy, claims she had to fight hard to refute.
But by this time she was accustomed to fighting she came to America at age 12 as a refugee. Her knowledge of English was limited to, “Hello” and “Shut-up.”
She had to overcome the stereotypes and bullying that came with not only being Black but also a Muslim woman.
“As someone who grew up never really having to feel less than, it’s a hard reality to wake up to when you’re 12. I had to figure out what it meant to be a bridge builder-—what it meant to forge relationships that really never existed becomes the backstory to how I ended up where I am.” She is quoted as saying.
She studied political science at North Dakota State, and then returned to Minneapolis to work at the University of Minnesota. She immersed herself into activism and served on the board of the Legal Rights Center, a nonprofit law firm specializing in restorative justice, and the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, a charity working to integrate new immigrants.
Omar was the Democratic-Farmer-Labor nominee and she was largely favored to win the blue Minnesota district, which hasn’t sent a Republican to Congress since 1962. The district includes Minneapolis and its surrounding suburbs.
The Minnesota state congresswoman ran a progressive platform that included “Medicare for all,” criminal justice reform and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Omar is quoted as saying that; President Trump’s “politics of fear” motivated her to get in the race.
“We did this together,” Omar tweeted. “Thank you!”
Other Black Breakthroughs
Also elected in this historic election was Ayanna Pressley. Pressley was the first Black woman to serve on Boston’s city council and made history again after defeating the 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano in the primaries. She did not face a challenger in the general election, making her the first black member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts.
The Democratic party won a majority in the House of Representatives in the Mid-term elections, a win they believe will give them the power to investigate and put checks on President Donald Trump and help shape the country’s political agenda for the next two years.
With several races yet to be decided, it was clear that Democrats captured more than the 218 seats needed to break the Republicans’ eight-year hold on the Lower House that began with the Tea Party revolt of 2010.