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NY Times: After big win, former Somali refugee now the favorite to win Minnesota state senate seat August 13, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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After big win, former Somali refugee now the favorite to win Minnesota state senate seat

Ilhan Omar (Facebook).


A former refugee from Somalia made history this week in Minnesota when she knocked off a long-serving legislator in the state’s primary election. Ilhan Omar, 33, handily defeated incumbent Phyllis Kahn, who had served as a state representative for 44 years, on Tuesday. The historic victory made Omar the first Muslim American woman of Somali descent to ever win a state primary and it puts her on the cusp of becoming the country’s first Somali-American legislator. Omar, a Democrat, is the favorite in the November election, and her opponent is also an immigrant from Somali. “Tonight we made history,” Omar told supporters following her big win on Tuesday night. “Tonight marks the beginning of the future of our district, a new era of representation.” She delivered her victory speech in both English and Somali.

It’s been a long road for Omar, a community activist and mother of three. As a child, her parents fled Somalia and she lived with them for four years in a Kenyan refugee camp. Eventually, the family was granted the opportunity to become U.S. citizens when Omar was 8. After a brief stay in Virginia, the family settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they began a new life. Nowadays, the Somali immigrant population has exploded to the point where her neighborhood is known as Little Mogadishu. Constituents there were largely overjoyed with her ascent. In Minneapolis, Somali immigrants have had recent successes being elected to local government posts, but Omar’s election on November would be a real breakthrough. Her grandfather, she said in her nomination acceptance speech, instilled in her what has become a deep interest in local politics. She also discussed some of the challenges including sexism and misogyny that she encountered through her campaign. Some community leaders, she said, “bought into the narrative of misogyny” and told her it was impossible for a Somali woman to win the nomination for that seat. She was happy to prove those skeptics wrong, she told supporters.

Omar is hopeful in her outlook toward the November election, where the opportunity to make history again awaits. “I hope our story is an inspirational story to many people,” she told The Associated Press in an interview. She went on to list “closing the opportunity gap in our educational system, working on criminal justice reform, taking on policing reform,” as some of her top priorities. Watch her emotional victory speech below.


Ilhan Omar denounces crimes against humanity being committed in Ethiopia. #OromoProtests April 26, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Africa, Oromia, Oromo.
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Odaa Oromoo#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in Ethiopia

Ilhan Omar denounces crimes against humanity being committed in Ethiopia

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State Representative 60-B


Contact: Jean Heyer
(612) 701-3874 / heyerjeanmarie@gmail.com
Web: www.ilhanomar.com

April 25, 2016 – Ilhan Omar strongly condemns the brutal crackdown on innocent unarmed peaceful protestors during the previous and current Oromo Protests.

“I stand with the Oromo struggle for freedom, justice and democracy in Ethiopia,” said Omar. “I urge the United States Government to stand by peaceful protestors and sanction Ethiopia, in the event it continues the current state-led violence in Oromia.

“The current protests in Oromia are not new. In April 2014, students from the Oromia region began protesting against the new Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan, which incorporates smaller towns surrounding Addis Ababa, displacing millions without compensation and endangering the economic livelihood of ethnic Oromo people in Oromia. This plan will ensure that millions of people in Oromia will be disposed of their land, their survival both in economic and cultural terms will be threatened. The Master Plan intends to expose Oromia’s natural habitat to risk, threaten economic livelihood and violate the Ethiopian constitution. As a result of the 2014 peaceful protests, over 140 people, mainly students, were mercilessly killed by Ethiopian security personnel. No independent investigation was conducted and civilians in Oromia were left burying their dead without any guarantee of justice.

“In November 2015, protests erupted again in the Oromia region. As a result, over 400 people have been killed in the past five months, thousands taken to detention camps, opposition leaders arrested and Martial Law was declared as a tactic to silence dissent. Ethiopia is an important strategic ally to the United States, but we must be wary of supporting governments that conduct in various human rights violations and condemn actions that equate to crimes against humanity.

“I call on public officials, the United States government and the international community to condemn the atrocities being committed against innocent unarmed civilians in Oromia, Ethiopia.”