Ilhan Omar was born in 1982 in Somalia. She was the youngest of seven siblings, and grew up in an upper middle class household. Ilhan’s father, Nur Omar Mohamed, is Somali, and worked as a teacher trainer.Her mother was Yemeni, and died when she was a child. Ok fast forward to January 3, 2017 and she makes history as the first Somali-American to become a US legislator at the State of Minnesota.
“My election win offers a counter-narrative to the bigotry in the world,” Omar, who won a seat in Minnesota‘s House of Representatives in November, told People in an interview. “This is a land of immigrants, and most come here for opportunity, a second chance. It’s our time to fight for the America we know we can have.”
This woman was raised by her dad and grandfather. Ilhan’s granddad, Abukar, was the director of Somalia’s National Marine Transport, with her uncles and aunts also working as civil servants and educators. After the start of the civil war in 1991, she and her family left the country and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya.
But now, Omar wants to inspire other women and minorities to reach for their dreams — despite the difficult road that likely lies ahead. “I believe women and minorities often wait for permission to be invited to something; we need to stop doing that,” she said. “My kids are the reason I continue to strive for something better. They know, as kids who are Muslim, Somali, black Americans, that they’ve always been part of a struggle and that change isn’t easy.”
I am already inspired by her zeal, determination and passion to make a difference. What about you?