Book title: This is What America Looks Like
Reviewer: Raphael Obonyo
Ihan Omar’s memoir, This is What America Looks Like chronicles her journey from refugee to congresswoman.
It is an extremely powerful story of Ilhan’s journey from being born in Somalia, spending four years in a refugee camp in Kenya before moving to the United States of America at age 12.
The 37-year-old Omar was elected to Congress in 2018 after a rapid rise through the state Legislature. She’s the first Somali-American elected to both a state Legislature and to Congress.
The Congresswoman, who is also the first lawmaker to wear a hijab after receiving a religious exemption to a head-covering ban on the House floor, called her election a rejection of “religious bigotry,” and proof that people are ready and willing to fight and build an America that works for all its citizens.
Indeed, Omar reminds us all of what it means to fearlessly strive for a better life, a better nation, and a better world. She narrates about her fight against structural racism and injustice, and how America and the world can move forward.
Her intensity and steadfastness against widening inequalities of income, wealth and political power that are undermining democracy and prosperity in America have inspired record numbers of young voters to join her political journey and “political revolution”.
The book, that I found to be undeniably compelling, intriguing, inspiring and refreshing details her hopes, aspirations, disappointments, failures, success, sacrifices, surprises and unshakable faith in the promise of America.
Ilhan is enormously impressive – a trailblazer and charismatic young woman leader who has shown it is possible to achieve anything if you set your mind to it.
She’s an epitome and demonstrates through her journey that future we must yearn and build: one where girls and women live out their aspirations without limits. Omar is one of the women building that future today.
Ilhan still has an important task ahead of her including winning the Democratic primary elections for the congressional seat in Minnesota in August and the General election in November.