By T. Roble
Trail blazing to Washington after a landslide victory in Minnesota, Ilhan Omar set the pace for four other contestants from her motherland -Somalia to register a major victory not just for Somalis but for refugees in camps across the world.
Her victory validated the dreams of the girls and boy from Dadaab refugee camp to camps in Yemen, Palestine, Syria and millions of others internally displaced in Somalia. Rashida Tlaib’s win too reinvigorated their dreams.
Beating the odds of identity, shrugging off the anti-Muslim tag propelled by populist politics of President Donald Trump, Omar, Mohamed Noor, Fardousa Jama, Fadumo Hassan and Siad Ali all strode to victory in a highly charged polls in US history punctuated by violence and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Omar who was endorsed by the Democratic Party in the August primaries won with a wide margin sweeping 78.2 % (267,690 votes) of the votes against her Republic rival Jennifer Zielinski who garnered 21.8% (74,437 votes).
In her acceptance speech, Omar sounded up beat noting her victory meant a lot to many Americans across the divide.
“I stand here as your Congress Woman elect with many firsts behind my name. The first woman of colour to represent our state in Congress, the first Congress woman to wear hijab, the first refugee ever elected to Congress and one of the first Muslim women elected to congress.”
“I am more than excited that we are gathered here again to make another history because we are going to Washington everyone,” elated Omar told her supporters.
But the celebrations for many a Somali and black people did not end there. Across Minnesota, a number of other Somalis were equally scoring firsts. Mohamed Noor won the 60B House of Representatives in Minnesota seat while Fardousa Jama won a seat in City Council in Mankato, Minnesota.
Siad Ali was also re-elected to Minneapolis School Board.
It was not only Somalia that registered highest representation among communities from the Horn of Africa. Joe Neguse, a 34 year old attorney whose parents fled Eritrea to the US is projected to win the Colorado seat for Congress.