Thursday, Jan. 3 marks the day that new members of Congress are officially sworn in, and it's truly a historic moment. As a record number of women will join the political ranks, Ilhan Omar's tweet about being sworn in to Congress proves this congresswoman is so thankful. Girl power, baby.
On Wednesday, Jan. 2, congressperson-elect Ilhan Omar took to Twitter to share an adorable photo of her and her father in the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on the eve of her swearing-in ceremony. However, it was the caption Omar included that nearly brought me to my knees. In the tweet, Omar recollects walking through that very airport 23 years ago with her father as they arrived in the United States from a Kenyan refugee camp. Now, fast forward and they're making a similar stroll, but on the way to Omar's ceremony to be sworn in to the 116th Congress. Truth be told, this may be one of the most meaningful and inspirational Twitter posts I've ever seen.
Omar's journey to Congress is historic for a number of reasons even beyond her former refugee status. Omar is one of the two first Muslim women, not to mention the first Somali-American, to ever be elected to Congress. Her joining Congress represents a new and diverse class of legislators taking Capitol Hill by storm, and it's bound to be legendary.
This 37-year old political trailblazer first gained recognition by becoming the first ever Somali-American legislator in the country, but her history is equally inspiring. As child, Omar was a refugee and later immigrated to the U.S. after fleeing the Somali civil war as a teenager. From there, she moved her way up the political ladder, serving as a member of Minnesota's House of Representatives before eventually running to replace Keith Ellison in the 2018 midterm elections to represent Minnesota's 5th Congressional District.
Following her victory, Omar shared an inspiring speech that began with the Islamic phrase "As-salaam aleikum," which is an Arabic-language greeting meaning "peace be to you." Then, she turned to address audiences about this historic moment, and what the future holds for everyone. She said,
In my last race, I talked about what my win would have meant for that eight-year-old girl in that refugee camp. And today, today, I still think about her and I think about the kind of hope and optimism all of those eight-year-olds around the country and around the world get from seeing your beautiful faces elect and believe in someone like me. So I humbly thank you. I congratulate you and I ask you, lets continue to celebrate and bring our joy and hope to the campaign trail tomorrow.
Along with Omar, Rashida Tlaib is another Muslim congresswoman, and Palestinian-American, to be elected to Congress in the 2018 midterms. Tlaib clinched her victory in the midterm elections to represent Michigan's 13th District.
It's a new year, and with that comes fresh, new faces. 2018 might have been a bit of a mess, but I have a good feeling that 2019 will be different. Congrats, Congresswoman Omar. Enjoy this moment.