Magazine article New Internationalist

Introducing Ilhan Omar

Magazine article New Internationalist

Introducing Ilhan Omar

Article excerpt

2017 may be the year of Donald Trump, but not all recent electoral news from the US is bad. Having been chosen by Minneapolis voters, 34-year-old former Somali refugee Ilhan Omar took her place in the House of Representatives on 3 January.

Omar is the first Somali-American to achieve US electoral success. With a message of social justice, 'opportunity for all' and environmental integrity, and backed by a group of some 400 volunteers, she captured the Minneapolis seat for the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party (the local affiliate of the Democratic Party).

She was just 12 years old when her parents were accepted as refugees from the camp in Kenya to which they had fled to escape the clan-on-clan violence tearing Somalia apart. With a background as an activist with the local Women Organizing Women network, Omar is known to have a good grasp of municipal policy issues and is an advocate for the rehabilitation of offenders. …

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