Alright – so, by now we have established Somalis are politically savvy abroad. If you ever went to any Somali coffee shop or Starbucks, you will see Somalis drinking cappuccinos and talking about politics. Some of them have turned this niche into a political career. Although there are many Somali elected officials in Minnesota, it is also happening all over the world, from Canada to Europe to Africa.
Let’s concentrate on Minnesota for this blog and autism of course because that is MY niche.
There are five state-elected officials in Minnesota, Mohamud, Hodan, Zaynab, Omar, and Samakab. Three are house representatives and two are senators. Two in the House – Hodan and Mohamud are extremely important committee chairs – human services and economic development. Hodan’s committee is new and did not exist before. Usually, Dflers make up more committees. The speaker must’ve made this one up. But Mohamud’s committee is extremely relevant to our community – Human Services Finance which is where DHS is under. I wish someone would put DHS under me; I would have them for lunch by breakfast. This is the agency that has screwed with more Somalis than Siad Barre.
In the Senate, Omar is in charge of all things higher education that includes all state colleges and universities. Imagine, being in charge of where UMN gets its funding from. That is one bias university, especially the ICI dept.
So what gives? out of 5, three are in charge of a big portion of the state’s budget. Plus in the state senate, the GOPs have 33 senators and Dflers have 34. This means the two Somali senators literally can shape what passes and what does not pass. In other words, anything that passed or will pass this year in Minnesota is because a Somali person voted for it, and allowed it. Imagine that. This includes anything that is good or bad for our community.
They say the proof is in the budding; when the rubber meets the road, and when it is all said and done. If after May of 2023, our community is still struggling, our kids with autism are still being screwed by DHS or the counties, our students are failing in schools, and our businesses are trying to make ends meet because DHS has us for lunch by breakfast and our elders are not better off than before, then we can and should elect different leaders. Electing the same people and expecting different policies is the definition of insanity. Further, I hope none of them think they are where they are without us. It is the Somali community that has put these 5 on the map and in the powerful positions they have by campaigning for them, donating to them, and everything in between.
Ha iloobinina meeshaad ka timaadeen iyo dadkii idin soo shaac bixiyay. Ha noqonina lax bacaad lagu lisay. Dadkiina wax tara.
Additionally, I am simply dizzy by the level of minority and women leadership this year in the state legislature. I remember when there were two blacks – Jeff and Bobby, that was it.
The House speaker is Melissa; well she has been there before and ugh I am not a fan of her. She has always thrown us under the bus and over the bridge when it came to education discipline disparities. Next to her is Athena who is black. She will brown nose Melissa and has said time and time again she would protect the teachers instead of the students. I almost miss her predecessor John L whom we campaigned against because he was against charter schools.
Senate – Kari is the majority leader. She represents NE Mpls which we know has lots of autism families. In my humble opinion, I find her to be fair and approachable. Her staff before were yucky. She now has a Somali LA which is a pleasant surprise. The Senate president is an African American – Bobby. I have seen him way back when he was a House Rep. He usually does not do much about autism, but he has worked very hard for his community’s issues which is needed. Good for him. He does a lot with voting rights, giving grants, etc.
There are a lot more Somali elected officials in Minnesota and in the US from the school board, city council, county commissioners, mayor, etc. I am incredibly proud of them. The sky is not even the limit for you, but please do not forget where you came from and who you are. Do not become to go along to get along. Stand up for your community.
The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom and Retiring Advocate.