Meet Ilhan

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

Ilhan Omar smiling and speaking into a microphone

Ilhan Omar’s Story

Ilhan Omar's family


Ilhan is Born

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


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


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.

Ilhan and family


The American “Dream”

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

Ilhan family


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.


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


Refugee to U.S. Citizen

At age 17 Ilhan becomes an American citizen.

Ilhan smiling with family at airport


College Graduate

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

Ilhan at a Vote No Twice march


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


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

Ilhan Omar speaking at rally


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


My election win offers a counter narrative.”


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