Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar Win the American Midterm Elections
The 2018 Midterm Elections is, by all means, historical and full of first times! The elections broke major records when it comes to the fundraising for congressional elections, early voter turnout in non-presidential elections, the number of female candidates elected, and the youngest woman elected. But most importantly, the diversity of the candidates elected!
Speaking of diversity, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar made history for both being the first Arab American Women elected to serve in the Congress! Rashida won in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, and Ilhan won in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. While Rashida was unopposed, Ilhan faced Republican Jennifer Zielinki and won to secure her seat.
Rashida was born to Palestinian parents and she is a very strong critic of President Trump. From 2009 to 2014 she served in the Michigan House of Representatives, where she helped secure millions of dollars for free health clinics, Meals on Wheels programs for seniors and before and after school education funding.
After she secured her primary win back in August, she said that she’s looking forward to “fight back against every racist and oppressive structure that needs to be dismantled.”
Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American woman to be elected to Congress, came more than 20 years ago to the United States as a refugee! In 2016, she became the first Somali-American, Muslim legislator in the U.S. She was elected to serve in Minnesota’s House of Representatives in District 60B. She will replace in 2019 Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim elected to Congress. Rashida, on the other hand, will replace Rep. John Conyers, who stepped down in December amid sexual harassment allegations.
Amid the racist ads and hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims in the west, Rashida and Ilhan’s victory was definitely a challenge. The hostility against the Arab Americans certainly brought them together! The Arab American Institute’s Executive Director, Maya Berry, stated, “There is a sense of a threat, a danger, a genuine sense of concern among the Arab American community of what is going on in the country.”
The two parties claimed that the elections are a victory as the Democrats won the house of representatives while the Republications won the Senate.