Women of Color take the midterm elections by storm

The 2018 midterm election was highly anticipated by Democrats hoping to unseat Republicans in Congress following Trump’s election. It was not only historic because the Democrats took the House of Representatives — it was the first time Americans elected more than 100 women to the House, a record number of them women of color. Here are some political leaders to keep your eye on during the next term.

Lucy McBath

In 2012, Lucy McBath’s son was killed for playing his music too loud in a Florida gas station. It has been speculated that his murder was a hate crime. This tragedy altered McBath’s life forever, ending her 30-year career with Delta Airlines and jumpstarting her career in activism. This midterm, she beat Republican incumbent Karen Handel in an extremely tight race, leading with almost 3,000 votes. McBath has been a strong proponent of gun control, pro-choice legislation and the Black Lives Matter movement and promises to continue fighting for these causes during her time in office.

Ilman Omar, one of the of the first Muslim-American representatives. Lydia Mattson | Staff Artist

Ilhan Omar

Ilhan Omar is one of the of the first Muslim-American representatives. A former refugee of Somalia’s civil war, Omar served as the first Somali-American legislator before being elected to the House of Representatives. Omar plans on advocating for refugees during her time in Washington, D.C., especially as Trump pushes for more legislation blocking refugee entry into the U.S.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. In a massive upset, she replaced Rep. Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent predicted to serve as the next House minority leader. Ocasio-Cortez, known for her extremely progressive stances on socioeconomic and racial equity, is hoped by many to become a new leader of the Democratic party.

Ayanna Pressley

Pressley is the first black woman to represent Massachusetts. She initially made waves as the first woman of color ever elected to Boston City Council. Similarly to the trajectory of Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley stunningly defeated 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano in the Massachusetts primary and ran unopposed in the state’s midterms. Pressley is an advocate for sexual assault awareness, gun reform and support for women and minorities.

Sharice Davids, the first openly lesbian, Native American congresswoman. Lydia Mattson | Staff Artist

Sharice Davids

Davids is the first openly lesbian, Native American congresswoman, beating Republican incumbent Rep. Kevin Yoder by just under a double digit margin. Davids worked on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation before serving in the White House under a selective fellowship program. Uniquely, part of Davids’ campaign platform was her background as a professional mixed martial arts fighter. Two of her largest priorities are making adequate healthcare and education affordable for all.

Rashida Tlaib

Tlaib is one of the first Muslim-American reps and the first Palestinian-American congresswoman. Tlaib replaced former Rep. John Coyers Jr., who stepped down after almost half a century in office as a result of sexual misconduct allegations. A child of immigrants, Tlaib supports abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage and the Palestinian right to return. Tlaib, whose district includes Detroit, follows in the footsteps of many historic Detroit activists as well. She is a huge proponent of civil rights and during her time in office, plans on targeting policies whose implementations negatively impact people of color.

Deb Halland, one of the first Native American congresswomen. Lydia Mattson | Staff Artist

Deb Halaand

Haaland is one of the first Native American congresswomen. Halaand’s trajectory is particularly inspiring compared to many of her fellow congresspeople. A single mother, she triumphed over alcoholism and relied on government assistance to get through law school before her career in politics began. She is known particularly for her ongoing fight against climate change, which affects Natives uniquely as their reservations are often used as sources for fossil fuel.