Meet The First Somali-American Muslim Woman Legislator In The US

Ilhan Omar made history on Tuesday night.

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For those who are feeling disheartened after learning that Hillary Clinton will not be the first female President of the United States, there was some uplifting news to emerge from Tuesday night's election.

Ilhan Omar, a 34-year-old former refugee and practicing Muslim, became America's first Somalian-American female legislator and beat out her Republican opponent to gain a seat at Minnesota's state house of representatives.

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According the The Star Tribune, Omar arrived in the US as a child after escaping the civil war in her home country of Somalia at the age of eight. She spent four years at a Kenyan refugee camp, before she immigrated to Minneapolis' Cedar-Riverside area with her family aged 12.

Ilhan Omar with her family during her victory party in Minneapolis , Minnesota.
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Omar is now a mother to three children and is currently the director of policy at Women Organizing Women Network, a group which helps empower East African women to get into civic leadership roles. Her leadership experience is said to have helped her defeat Republican candidate Phyllis Kahn, the House's longest serving member.

In her victory statement, Omar said her win is "the beginning of something new."

"This district has a legacy of making history," she added. "I am excited for our progressive values and to be able to be on the ground at the Capitol representing the diverse people of my district and being a champion with them and for them."

Ilhan Omar pictured on election day.

The Guardian reports that her triumph came less than a week after Donald Trump referred to Somali immigrants in Minnesota as "a disaster."

"Here in Minnesota, you've seen firsthand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with very large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval," Trump said days before the election. "Some of them [are] joining Isis and spreading their extremist views all over our country and all over the world."

Now that the man who openly called for a ban on Muslims coming to America is now President-elect, Omar's fight to support immigrant communities is even more inspiring. As she said in her speech, it's a sign she is breaking barriers.

"We will continue to build a more prosperous and equitable district – state and nation – where each and every one of us has opportunities to thrive and move forward together," she said.

In Ilhan Omar, there's a glimmer of hope.

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