On Tuesday, October 11, Ilhan Omar visited St. Olaf to deliver a talk about the importance of youth involvement in politics. Ilhan Omar is currently running unopposed for Minnesota State Representative of Housing District 60B and will be elected in November. Omar has been involved in politics since attending caucuses with her grandfather at the age of 14 and she will be the first Somali-American legislator in the United States.
In her talk, she discussed how rather than being the leaders of the future, the youth should be, “the leaders of now.” The youth are often told to wait for their turn but it is not okay to wait for the future to share our ideas for a better today. Politics can often be viewed as unpopular and people, especially youth, like to say that they are not political. But in actuality, everything we are confronted with and everything we do is political. It is to everyone’s advantage to be engaged in the political scene around us.
In addition to advocating for youth involvement, Omar talked about the importance of local politics amidst the buzz of national politics. When nearly all of the media and discussion surrounding politics revolves around the topic of Presidents and Governors, it is the local legislation that has an impact in our day-to-day lives. Being knowledgeable and involved in local politics is nothing but advantageous.