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Meet Ilhan

Somali. Black. Muslim. Woman. Refugee. Minnesotan.

Ilhan Omar’s Story

1982

Ilhan is Born

Ilhan Omar is born in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, the youngest of seven children.

Ilhan family

1991

Sanctuary and Hunger

Ilhan’s family fled the country during the Somali Civil War and took sanctuary in a Kenyan refugee camp for four years.

It was the first time I understood what hunger would feel like, what death looked like.

1995

The American “Dream”

When Ilhan is 12, she and her family move to America in search of justice and democracy.

Ilhan and family

1997

Home Sweet Home

Ilhan and her family move to Minneapolis Minnesota’s Cedar-Riverside neighborhood – the heart of the Somali diaspora. It becomes the state Ilhan calls home.

Love of Politics

Ilhan falls in love with politics while interpreting for her grandfather at Democratic Party caucuses.

Ilhan family

2000

Refugee to U.S. Citizen

At age 17 Ilhan becomes an American citizen.

There is an opportunity for us to be visionary, bold, and loud about what our better tomorrow looks like.

2011

College Graduate

Ilhan graduates with a degree in Political Science and International Studies from North Dakota State University.

Ilhan smile

2012

Organized for the Vote No Twice campaigns to make love the law of the land and defeat a voter suppression initiative.

2014

Worked as a Senior Policy Aide for Minneapolis City Council Member Andrew Johnson

2016

Elected to MN House of Representatives and increased turnout in Minneapolis and across MN


My election win offers a counter narrative.

2018

Elected into US House of Representatives

Ilhan is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, marking a number of historic electoral firsts: she is the first Somali-American, the first naturalized citizen from Africa, and the first non-white woman elected from Minnesota, and one of the first two Muslim women (along with Rashida Tlaib of Michigan) to serve in Congress.

Ilhan and Bernie Sanders
Ilhan Speech

2019

Fighting for the Fifth

Ilhan gets resources directly into the hands of Minnesotans

Returns $450,000 to constituents

Introduces 35 bills

MEALS Act is signed into law

PAUL Act, a bill she authors to crack down on foreign lobbyists, passes the House

Passed 14 amendments

Cofounds the Black Maternal Health Caucus and the Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health

Elected Vice Chair of the Medicare for All Caucus

Leads prescription drug reform effort in the House, and helps pass a bill limiting the U.S. role in the War in Yemen.

Leads conversations about reorienting America’s foreign policy around peace and diplomacy.

August 2019
  • 20 bills and amendments introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives
  • 12 bills and amendments passed in the U.S. House of Representatives
  • 371 bills cosponsored
  • 21,152 constituent letters answered
  • 16 roundtables and town halls
  • 879 meetings with constituents
  • 189 constituent cases worked on
  • $400,414 returned to constituents
December 2019
  • 28 bills and amendments introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives
  • 16 bills and amendments passed in the U.S. House of Representatives
  • 433 bills cosponsored
  • 47,484 constituent letters answered
  • 21 roundtables and town halls
  • Over 1,000 meetings with constituents
  • Over 200 constituent cases worked on
  • $411,635 returned to constituents
June 2020
  • 48 bills and amendments introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives
  • 19 bills and amendments passed in the U.S. House of Representatives
  • 548 bills cosponsored
  • 67,732 constituent letters answered
  • 32 roundtables and town halls
  • Over 1,300 meetings with constituents
  • Over 400 constituent cases worked on
  • $478,000 returned to constituents