Yesterday history was made in the US mid-term election in which the country elected its first Somali-Muslim-American to Congress. Not only that Democrats regain control of the house with over 222 seats which is a great news for immigrants that feel threatened by Trump rhetoric.
Just a day before the midterm election we published a story reflecting on why this midterm election matters to Ethiopians in America. The article can also relate to Somali and Eritreans in American given their social and cultural resemblance and tie with Ethiopia. In which citizens from all three countries migrated seeking safety from persecution from their country.
Tonight first-generation immigrants from all these three countries were able to make history by winning the election they contested. Addis Insight would like to introduce you to the winners and give you a slight background info of the winners that made immigrant families proud especially in representing east-Africa.
Ilhan Omar, Somali-Muslim- American
Ilhan Omar becomes the first Somali-American and also Muslim women to win congress sit representing Democrats in Minnesota and become a congresswoman. Her upbringing story inspired many to believe in the America dream. Ilhan was born in Moqadisho and lived for four years in a refugee camp in Kenya before moving to America.
Ilhan won her district in a landslide victory by taking 78.2% of the votes against Jennifer Zelinsky of Republican. Speaking to a crowd right after her win, Ilhan affirmed that standing against President Trump on the issue of immigration is her priority.
Joe Neguse, Eritrean American
The 34-year-old Democrats candidate Joe Neguse becomes not only the first Eritrean American but also the first African American congressman from Colorado. Neguse prioritizes protecting undocumented immigrants which is another major matching factor with Ilhan Omar. As the son of an immigrant who migrated 35 years ago from Eritrea Neguse was find President Trump immigration plan and shithole very personal. As a result, he made his main campaign agenda and in his primary speech Neguse reflected on the topic as follows.
“How could I not (want to serve in Congress), when I think about my parents who immigrated to this country 35 years ago and how different their lives would be and my life would be if they tried to immigrate today,” Neguse said during the primary race. “Just fundamentally, everything is at stake this election.”
With 80% of the votes counted Neguse won his election by earning 60% of the votes which is a major lead compared to several others contested race in the country.
Alexander Assefa- Ethiopian American
Born and raised in Ethiopia Alexander Assefa defeated Kathleen Lauckner and LaDon Henry in the Democratic primary for Nevada State Assembly District 42 on June 12, 2018. Advanced his win last night by taking 100% of the votes.
Similar to Ilhan Omar, Alexander Assefa was a refugee in Kenya before coming to the US in 2000.