In a state that votes red, the election of Democrat Hamida Dakane as the first hijab-wearing Muslim woman of color to the North Dakota House of Representatives will always stand out in the history.
“I am a Democrat, and I am a Muslim and I am black,” said Dakane, who always wears hijab, usually accompanied by a colorful dress, InForum reported.
Running for a seat in the North Dakota House of Representatives, Dakane was elected as of Wednesday, Nov. 9, receiving 31.8% of the vote.
Hamida will serve a two-year term representing District 10, representing her district with Steve Swiontek, a Republican, who garnered 40% of the vote.
Growing up in Kenya, Dakane came to North Dakota in 2012 on a student visa. She earned a bachelor’s degree in emergency management and international studies from North Dakota State University. Later on, obtained a master’s degree in public administration and energy management from the University of Mary.
For Dakane, hijab is part of her identity, having worn the outfit since she was 7.
“It is very important for me personally and my religion. There are young girls looking up to us, and it is good for them to see that even with my head covered, you can still do your job,” she said.
In a state which elected the first woman only in 2013, the win will help motivate people who look like Dakane to take the challenge and go into politics.
“This was an important race for all of us, not only me, or Somalis, or Muslims, but for people of color in the area,” Hukun Dabar, executive director of the Afro-American Development Association, said.
“Just like Hamida, you can be yourself, and this shows an improvement and shows that people want change and acceptance and a future for all of us.”
US Muslims made history in November 8 midterm elections, with many of them winning seats for the first time in different districts across the country.
A total number of 82 local, state legislative, statewide, judicial, and federal American Muslim electoral won in yesterday’s midterm election.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, the first and only Muslim elected to a statewide position, won reelection, and so too did members of Congress Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Andre Carson (D-IN).
21 incumbent state legislators who were up for reelection won decidedly and will notably be joined by 16 history-making Muslim candidates to increase the total number of Muslim state lawmakers nationwide to 43.