by Aleeha Shah | news editor
Recently, Minnesota elected the first Somali muslim American, 34 year old, hijab wearing, Ilhan Omar making national history. Omar was born in Somalia, however, as a child she lived in a refugee camp in Kenya, fleeing from the civil war in her home country. After living there for a while, finally Omar and her family were able to come to America.
When she first came, Omar spoke little English and did not know much about the typical “American culture.” Because of this, she was left out by classmates and did not have many friends. The age of 14 marked the beginning of her interest in politics. She acted as an interpreter for her grandfather in local DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor party) caucuses. Watching her neighbors come together to advocate for what they believed in, sparked her interest in the democratic process. She went on to get degrees in Business Administration, Political Science and International Studies.
Omar works towards equal rights for all. She wishes to make educational rights extend to all, and to make it more cost efficient so more people will be able to afford it. She also cares about the environment and wants to protect it by banning harmful products that pollute the air. In addition to those issues, Omar wants to advance support for working families and have businesses extend their hours a month a year in order to respect muslims who are fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
I believe that the election of Ilhan Omar is a big step for minorities, muslims, and women. She represents the voices that are not or cannot be heard. I believe that she can bring about positive changes that will influence the greater good. Personally, I feel as though she will do a good job at this. She is experienced, and because she is not only a Somali American, but also a hijab wearing woman, she is well aware of the feelings that minorities have and the things they have to face in their daily lives. I think she stands for good things, and one of the best is probably the businesses staying open in Ramadan. I know what a hassle it is to wake yourself up at 4 am and eat and pray, and I don’t even do the cooking. I see the pain my mom has to go through to get everything ready, and it would be really helpful to muslims to not have to go through that every day. Her policies will not only be beneficial to muslims, but she will also be able to provide a voice for all people. I think this is especially important with the recent election and some people speaking out about their personal fears. I believe her election proves that minorities are important in America and although she mainly works in Minnesota, her election will motivate other members of minority groups to get more involved in their communities and make the changes they feel need to happen.