Ilhan Omar Will Rise Like Air

The President’s blatantly racist Twitter rant targeting four progressive Congresswomen of color, now known as “The Squad,” has dominated headlines. Though the attack appears to have won him more support among Republicans—according to an online Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Monday—the women themselves have refused to back down from the President’s bullying. 

But last night, the attacks escalated, as Trump’s racist rhetoric prompted those attending his rally to chant, “Send her back.”

This chant was directed toward Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, who came to America as a young girl fleeing violence in Somalia, qualifying her for refugee status. Now a citizen of the U.S., Omar—one of only two Muslim members of Congress—has faced death threats and outward displays of Islamophobia since being elected into office. 

Yet, in spite of death threats, racist attacks from the White House and other members of Congress, and a rally of Trump supporters chanting that she return to Somalia—in an incredible demonstration of patriotism—she persists.

Last night, she responded to the chants with strength and dignity, tweeting a verse from Maya Angelou poem, “Still I Rise.” 

The President has taken no responsibility for the increased climate of hostility toward Omar. He has both denied his original comments were racist and attempted to distance himself from the chanting, claiming he was “not happy with it”—despite the undeniable similarity between the language of the rally chants and the tweets in question.

Omar has proven herself to be nothing but brave, prompting the viral hashtags #IStandWithIlhan and #WelcomeHomeIlhan. Congress members and American citizens shared messages of support to remind her that she is, in fact, already home. 

For Omar, the fight is for America, not for herself, telling reporters, “This is not about me—this is about us fighting for what this country truly should be.”


Greta Baxter is currently working as a summer editorial intern at Ms. Magazine. While majoring in Political Science and Law at Sciences Po Paris she was the anglophone culture section editor of her schools newspaper, The Sundial Press, and the head of editing and visuals of HeforShe Sciences Po. As a passionate intersectional feminist, she is especially interested in the relationship between gender and health as well as how gender bias and discrimination is embedded in political and legal systems. When she is not talking about gender and looking at what steps forward and backward are being made around the world, she is probably arguing about why sweet breakfast foods are superior to savory breakfast foods. You can follow her on Twitter!