Ilhan Omar: “There’s a Reason That I Got Elected to Be in Congress and it has Nothing to do with the Fact that I’m a Refugee”

May 21, 2019, 10:00 AM

From the grass roots to the ballot box, we are witnessing an explosion of progressive political energy. New candidates are running for offices high and low—and they’re winning. In Next Left, a new podcast from The Nation hosted by National Affairs correspondent John Nichols, these insurgent politicians let us into their lives, tell us their stories, and explain how they plan to change our country for the better.

We want to understand how the people who are forging the next left got turned on to politics, and what they plan to do now that they have been entrusted by voters to upend the status quo.

Our first guest is Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. We spoke in her Capitol Hill office, where visitors are greeted by an image of Shirley Chisholm, who 50 years ago was the first African-American woman elected to Congress. Omar is, herself, a woman of many firsts—the first Somali-American and the first naturalized citizen to serve in Congress, and one of the first two Muslim women to serve in the House. She is also the first member of Congress to wear a hijab. We are delighted that she is the first guest on Next Left.


Reps. Omar and Schakowsky: We must confront threat of white nationalism—together: CNN Opinion, May 14, 2019

Black History Month Playlist: Ilhan Omar talks Prince, music that inspires her: Marla Khan-Schwartz, The Current, January 31, 2019

Why Liz Cheney Is So Determined to Marginalize Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar: John Nichols, The Nation, May 14, 2019

Time for Ilhan 2018 Documentary by Norah Shapiro

This week’s sponsor: A Crisis Wasted, by Reed Hunt

Theme song: “Deli Run,” by Ava Luna

This episode of Next Left was produced and edited by Sophia Steinert-Evoy. Our executive producers are Frank Reynolds, Erin O’Mara, and Katrina vanden Heuvel.