In 2018, when Ilhan Abdullahi Omar (1981[some sources say 1982]– ) was elected as a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party to the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, she became the first woman of color to represent Minnesota in the Congress and one of the first two Muslim-American women (the other is Rashida Tlaib from Michigan) elected to that national legislative body. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, she fled that country with her family when she was eight years old, spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya, and moved to the United States with her family in the 1990s, settling with her family in Minneapolis in 1997. After graduating from North Dakota State University, she worked as a community educator at the University of Minnesota, was a policy fellow at that university's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and was a senior policy aide for the Minnesota City Council. She first ran for political office in 2016, when she won a seat as a member of the DFL in the Minnesota House of Representatives for District 60B, becoming the highest elected Somali-American public official in the United States and the first Somali-American state legislator. While a state representative, she served as the assistant minority leader assigned to three committees: Civil Law and Data Practices Policy, Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance, and State Government Finance. In her campaign for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, she said she would focus on education, a fair wage, a just immigration policy, and climate change.
In July 2019, leaders and people from around the United States and the world came to the congresswoman's defense after President Donald Trump tweeted remarks about her and three other congresswomen of color (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan), saying they should go back and help the "totally broken and crime infested places from which they came" and "you can't leave fast enough." Of the four Congresswomen, all are U.S. citizens and three were born in the United States, with Ilhan being a naturalized citizen. In a responding tweet, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California said, "[Trump's] plan to "Make America Great Again" has always been about making America white again. Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power." Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tweeted that Trump's comment was "vile" and a "racist and xenophobic attack on Democratic congresswomen. This *is* their country.... they should be treated with respect." Ilhan responded with the words of poet Maya Angelou: "You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise."