Rashida Tlaib is going to Congress. She will represent Michigan’s 13th Congressional District in the U.S. House. That seat was held by John Conyers from 1965 to 2017.
Tlaib says her win is significant — in part — because of victories by women of color across the country. She will share the title of “first Muslim woman in Congress” with Ilhan Omar who was elected to represent Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District Tuesday.
“Seventy-percent white community elected a Somalian-American woman former refugee.,” She says. “It tells you that there are people out there that want to see difference and changes and are really based on issues. Many of us ran on issues. We didn’t run because we wanted to be first.”
She says her victory is especially important at a time when Islamophobia is so high.
“I was elected by African Americans and Whites,” Tlaib says. “And people that didn’t share the same faith that I do. It makes this whole journey and this experience and our victory and our win today even more special. It’s because I was elected by predominantly non-Muslims.”
Conyers resigned last year after being accused of sexually harassing staffers. Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones will represent the 13th for November and December to complete the remainder of his term. Tlaib’s term begins in January.
She says one of her first jobs is to create neighborhood service centers where residents can find healthcare resources.