Rep. Ilhan Omar visits Park

Shares experience, answers student questions

Dani Orloff


Patiently waiting outside of C350 for the arrival of Rep. Ilhan Omar after hearing of the event last minute, senior Aisha Abdi was ecstatic Omar allowed Abdi and others who were not on the list into the room to hear her story.

“When she came into the school, and I saw her, I was like, ‘Can I be in the room with you?’ and she was like, ‘Why not?,’” Abdi said. “I was so glad that she let us through. There were police officers and the GLC’s and they were not letting people in, and I was like, that’s my role model. I’m going to be in that room I don’t care. I need a picture with her.”

According to Principal Scott Meyers, Minnesota’s fifth Congressional District Representative Ilhan Omar visited Park April 23 and spoke to 40-45 students about her experience as an immigrant growing up in Minneapolis. Meyers said it was two students in Honors English, as well as an East African group, who wrote letters directly to Omar, initiating the opportunity.

The administration received strict guidelines from Omar’s communication department on the purpose of the meeting, according to Meyers, prior to her visit.

“The purpose of the meeting was to meet with students in our school that were English language learners. They were hoping for a group of around 30 and that Representative Omar could share her experiences that maybe would resonate with some students in that group,” Meyers said. “Because it was a very specific response to a letter, we treated is as that much.”

As sophomore Roselyne Iwundu sat in a circle amongst her peers in C350 to hear Rep. Omar’s story, she said that her message resonated with her and motivated her to pursue her future goals.

“I felt like the message that she sent to us was powerful and the way she grew up is the same way that we grew up too and it is just making it seem like we can all do something great like her,” Iwundu said.