First Two Somali Women win seats in Lewiston City and Park City Councils

First Two Somali Women win seats in Lewiston City and Park City Councils
First Two Somali Women win seats in Lewiston City and Park City Councils

By: Mohamed Duale

First Two Somali women, Safiya Khalid and Nadia Mohamed, win two seats in Lewiston City Council in Maine and Park City in St. Louis. Safia and Nadia thus become the first two Muslim women on the municipal council of these two cities in the United States.

Safiya Khalid becomes Lewiston City Council

Safiya Khalid defeated a fellow Democrat on Tuesday to win a seat on the Lewiston City Council.

That makes Khalid, 23, the first Somali American elected to the council. She is also the youngest person to hold a seat on the council. Khalid won with 69.6 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

On Tuesday night, Khalid called her campaign proof that “community organizers beat internet trolls”

Khalid ran unsuccessfully for school committee in 2017, when she was 20 years old and a senior psychology student at the University of Southern Maine. Khalid told the BDN earlier this year that she was motivated to run by what she saw as a lack of diversity in Lewiston’s city government at the time.

Nadia Mohamed becomes St. Louis Park City Council

Nadia Mohamed, a 23-year-old politician who fled Somalia’s war when she was a young girl, made history Tuesday night by winning an at-large seat on the St. Louis Park City Council.

She will be the first Muslim woman and first Somali on the City Council.

“I’m running because I believe I can help our city reach out to everybody in St. Louis Park,” Nadia said in her campaign video.

Nadia won with 63% of the first-choice votes in the race, while Joseph Israel received 36% of the votes. She will replace Thom Miller, who did not run for reelection.

Nadia got involved in city politics to build connections within the St. Louis Park community, according to a profile on Reviving Sisterhood. She joined the St. Louis Park Multicultural Advisory Committee, which helps bridge the city’s police departments with different cultural groups. During her time there, she helped guide the city’s mourning of a 2017 terrorist attack in Mogadishu and outreach to the local Somali community. She also co-taught two community education classes, volunteered with St. Louis Park High School’s High Achievement Program and hosted community Iftars.

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