Ilhan Omar campaigning for state representative in Minnesota. (Chris Newberry), Featured Image
(This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.)
AMY GOODMAN: Two of the founders of Black Lives Matter, as well as professor Angela Davis and scores of other black women, are holding a rally today on Capitol Hill to defend Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and to urge Congress to censure President Trump for his attacks on her. Omar made history earlier this year when she and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan became the first Muslim women in Congress. She’s also the first member of Congress to wear a hijab.
Omar, who was born in Somalia and came to the United States as a refugee, has been at the center of numerous right-wing attacks since taking office. Congressmember Omar recently said death threats against her have spiked in number since President Trump tweeted a video juxtaposing her image with footage of the 9/11 attacks. In New York City, many Yemeni bodega owners are continuing to refuse to sell the New York Post, after it showed an image of the World Trade Center on fire with a headline attacking Omar. The Yemeni American Merchants Association said the cover provoked hatred and targeted people of the Muslim faith. Omar has also been accused of being anti-Semitic for criticizing the power of the Israeli lobby in Washington and questioning U.S.-Israeli relations.
Despite the threats, Omar has refused to be silent and has continued to speak out against racism, Islamophobia, right-wing violence and anti-Semitism. On Saturday, she condemned the deadly shooting at a synagogue in San Diego, writing, “My heart is breaking after today’s deadly shooting at Chabad Congregation in San Diego—on the last day of Passover and 6 months to the day after the Tree of Life shooting. We as a nation must confront the terrifying rise of religious hate and violence. Love trumps hate,” she tweeted.
We’re joined now by two of the organizers of today’s rally. Barbara Ransby, historian, author and activist adviser to the Movement for Black Lives and one of the planners behind Black Women in Defense of Ilhan Omar. Ransby’s latest book is Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the 21st Century. And Angela Davis joins us, author, activist, professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She’s the author of many books, including Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement.
We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Angela Davis, you have traveled across the country to come here to Washington today. Why?