On January 4th, 2019, history was made. As I saw "Breaking News" headlines pour over our television screens and phones that the 116th Congress' members were officially sworn in, I could not contain my excitement. From the time between the campaign trails at full blaze to the day each new members of Congress were sworn in; there seemed to be a glimmer of hope beginning to manifest for our country. Well, it did because each woman more than glimmered, they shined.
What an amazing time to be alive. To witness that it absolutely is possible to create attainable dreams and cultivate them into existence. Was it a battle for these women? Absolutely! But despite knowing they would be up against, what is usually a majority male-run field, they took the challenge with grace and conquered. Congress will be filled with 127 women this year, which is a big difference compared to the last Congress that had 110 women. And not only did the number of congresswomen increase, but the 116th Congress was filled with many "firsts" that made history.
Representative Ilhan Omar from Minnesota is the first Somali-American and Muslim to enter Congress. She spoke about how the airport that she arrived at with her father the day before her swearing-in Washington, D.C. was the same airport her and her father came to when they entered the United States as refugees from Kenya 23 years ago. The other Muslim woman that was sworn in was Rashida Tlaib from Michigan. Another pair of women who have made history is Sharice Davids from Kansas and Deb Haaland from New Mexico who are the first two Native Americans to enter Congress. The youngest woman to be elected into Congress at 29 years old was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
This is how America should be represented. I anticipate that these freshman congresswomen will represent our country in a new light under Madame Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. All of them together will show all young women how they too can achieve their goals, even if it seems "impossible". Little girls all across the nation will now be able to feel represented and inspired to one day do the same. They will be able to find someone who looks like them representing their country.
The 116th Congress was the product of our voice, the young people. And while I am so proud to be represented by these women, I am also proud of the young people who took a stance on how they wanted their country to look. This makes me wonder what else we can do to improve our country. I believe that if we continue to work together, just like we shown we already could, we can create more change. Now is not the time to hide your voice, now is the time to make it as loud as you can. Because we are the people of this country and even though we may think our opinions, our voice, or our vote don't matter; it does because clearly, the 116th Congress proves that wrong.