Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya. Her family emigrated to the United States when Omar was just 12 years old.
The 34 year-old mother of three is an experienced policy analyst, progressive Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) activist, coalition builder and community educator. She holds degrees in Business Administration, Political Science and International Studies. She completed a Policy Fellowship at University Of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Omar has extensive experience and she served on numerous non-profit boards.
Through handwork and determination Ilhan has broken numerous boundaries, and she has received multiple accolades for her achievements, including the Rising Star Award from DFL Women’s Hall of Fame and a Community Leadership Award from the Mshale Newspaper for outstanding leadership.
History is made. Ilhan Omar is the next State Representative of Minnesota's District 60B! https://t.co/gGmQrvueTz
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 9, 2016
Omar becomes the first Somali-American to be elected legislator in the United States. The 34 year-old has urged Americans to rally behind her despite the deep divisions, and the disappointing result, which saw Republican candidate, now President-elect Donald Trump shockingly defeating strong favourite Hillary Clinton. Incidentally, President-elect Trump made some disparaging remarks against Somali immigrants saying they are a “disaster” and Minnesota residents have “suffered enough” because of migrants pouring in.
“I am also sick with worry as a result of the overall outcome of this election and the deep divide within our nation But I need you,” Omar said.
Despite the overall disappointment, Omar has been celebrating her remarkable achievement writing on Facebook: “I am so proud of this win because District 60B represents Minnesota at its finest. My neighbors, and everyone here in this room, represent what we as a nation strive to be: united in our diversity”.
“Long time residents, East African immigrants and students — we came together and engaged in the political progress. We talked about the issues that concern us and we connected on the future we want to create,” she says.
Social media users have also been celebrating this historic achievement, sending congratulatory messages to the legislator.