Today, Thursday, Jan. 3, is the day that the 116th class of Congress will assume office and incidentally when Democrats will take back the House of Representatives. The incoming class will also be the most diverse class, with several women, people of color and LGBTQ individuals taking office.
Several of the groundbreaking class was featured on ESSENCE’s Chisholm List, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) who will be the youngest member of Congress at 29, Rep. Ayanna Pressley who will be the first Black congresswoman to represent Massachusetts, and Rep. Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American member of Congress.
Omar has been particularly reflective on Instagram, with her dad posting about their family’s story under her handle.
“Twenty-three years ago, my family and I arrived at an airport in Washington DC. We were newly arrived refugees in this country, from a refugee camp in Kenya. I had heard about the promise of America, prosperity for all and hope for a better tomorrow,” her father wrote. “I could never have dreamed that twenty-three years later I would return to the same airport with my daughter Ilhan by my side, the day before she is to be sworn in as the first Somali-American elected to the United States Congress.”
View this post on Instagram
Hey, Ilhan’s dad here: Twenty three years ago, my family and I arrived at an airport in Washington DC. We were newly arrived refugees in this country, from a refugee camp in Kenya. I had heard about the promise of America, prosperity for all and hope for a better tomorrow. I could never have dreamed that twenty three years later I would return to the same airport with my daughter Ilhan by my side, the day before she is to be sworn in as the first Somali-American elected to the United States Congress. You, of course, can imagine how emotional this is and why I am incredibly proud of her. It’s an honor to have her represent me and our family is so humbled that Ilhan has the opportunity to serve in our democracy. I wish Ilhan's grandfather could be here to witness this historic moment. He will be here in spirit as Ilhan will place her hand on his Quran for the ceremonial swearing in. Tomorrow, members of Ilhan's team will be covering the events of the day. We all hope you will follow along and share in our excitement for what the New Year will bring. As Ilhan would say, forward together. Nur Mohamed #Hope #ilhan
This is just giving context to why the hashtag #DemsTakeTheHouse (as well as #116thCongress) is trending on Twitter across the United States today, with social media reacting with joy and hope at the change that will surely come with more representation.
Congratulations to these women who will be sworn in today in House of Representatives. They are making history and they will make the future bearable. #DemsTakeTheHouse #116thCongress pic.twitter.com/m85eOkWhlb
— Natoli (@natoliwo) January 3, 2019
Nothing about the Washington today is more important than this: For the first time ever, the Democratic House caucus will look like America – majority women and people of color. Power shifts. A new game will be played. #NotAnExxageration #DemsTakeTheHouse #TimesUp
— Hilary Rosen (@hilaryr) January 3, 2019
— DKT (@darleneturner53) January 3, 2019
Today is the day.
America's checks and balances will be restored.
The president will be reined in and held accountable.
Sanity will prevail and compassion will be reinstalled.
Because today, the #DemsTakeTheHouse.
Bless you all. Your work is righteous. pic.twitter.com/CTFIutfk84
— Fiona Adorno (@FionaAdorno) January 3, 2019
— #ObamaBestEver (@lordxmen2k) January 3, 2019
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