As US elections edge towards a nail-biting contest between the Republicans and Democrats, there is some good news about the reelection of progressive women of color.
Ilhan Omar from Minneapolis, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, Ayanna Pressley from Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib from Michigan all claimed reelection victories in their respective House races Tuesday.
All four congresswomen were elected in the “blue wave” 2018 midterm elections and became known among their supporters and constituents as “The Squad.”
Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, was reelected in New York’s 14th congressional district with 68.8% of the vote, defeating Republican opponent John Cummings. After becoming the youngest woman ever elected to Congress in 2018, she has been dynamic and outspoken in her progressive advocacy and policy agenda, which has rattled both her GOP colleagues and the conservative press. Ocasio-Cortez, 31, meanwhile, bested her Republican challenger John Cummings, a 60-year-old Catholic high school teacher who raised more than $10 million.
Serving NY-14 and fighting for working class families in Congress has been the greatest honor, privilege, & responsibility of my life.
Thank you to the Bronx & Queens for re-electing me to the House despite the millions spent against us, & trusting me to represent you once more. https://t.co/MXG2Z2DV2F
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 4, 2020
Omar claimed victory in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district with 64.6% of the vote against Republican challenger Lacy Johnson. As a Somali refugee who fled civil war as a child, Omar became the first Somali American elected to Congress and has been an outspoken voice on the floor. She has also helped elevate the voices of fellow immigrants while being a vocal critic of President Trump, who has frequently attacked her in racist and xenophobic ways. Omar defeated a well-funded Republican challenger, Lacy Johnson, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump in May.
We are building a movement that sees my struggle as inherently tied to your struggle, and sees a world where all workers can be uplifted.
Today’s vote – the results of this election – are not the end.
This is just the beginning. https://t.co/0JlTxiV0Gh
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 4, 2020
Pressley beat out independent challenger Roy Owens, a pastor in Massachusetts’ 7th congressional district handily, with 87.5% of the vote. She has notably spoken out about and proposed plans to fix the unfair criminalization and suspension levels of young Black girls. Earlier this year, she also released an inspiring video in which she opened up about having alopecia.
Tlaib claimed reelection victory over Republican opponent David Dudenhoefer in Michigan’s 13th congressional district with 66.5% of the vote by midnight. Though votes are still being tallied in the race, she’s projected to win—her opponent is tracking at 29%. In 2018, Tlaib became the first woman of Palestinian descent in Congress and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, along with Omar. She has lent her voice to advocate for Middle Eastern and North African voices in the U.S. as well as to call out members of the Trump administration on corporate and possibly corrupt ties.
The Squad has also been repeatedly attacked by Trump, who often refers to them dismissively as “AOC plus three.” Last year, the president infamously told all four women of color to “go back” to the countries they came from—though all are American citizens, a requirement to be elected to U.S Congress in the first place.
All four have faced attacks and criticism that ranged from sexism, Islamophobia and racism to Xenophobia.
Ocasio-Cortez, arguably the notable of the foursome, has faced vitriol from conservatives for her leftist politics.
Ilhan Omar is the only one of the four who was born outside of the U.S. and she was brought to America as a young girl was quite vocal about Immigrant bashing and Islamophobia.