Rashida Tlaib is about to make history as the first Palestinian-American to serve in Congress. During the run up to the 2016 election, Tlaib was kicked out of a Trump campaign event after she asked Trump if he’d ever read the constitution. Now, she is one of many incoming Congresswomen that plan to stand in the way of the president’s agenda.
Tlaib described her moment of confrontation with Trump as “the most American thing I could ever do.”
After she began her own campaign for Congress, Tlaib embraced ideas like “Medicare-for-all, a $15 dollar minimum wage and debt-free college as well as calls to abolish ICE and impeach the President,” CNN writes.
“Can we please start the impeachment process now?” She tweeted in December.
Her road to Congress was just the start of the obstacles Tlaib will likely face. “When I won it was just a moment of light in this time that was pretty dark for a lot of us,” Tlaib said. But she knows there’s trouble coming.
“My mere existence, I realize, no matter my positions, even if I didn’t say anything about any issue after I won, just complete silence from me, I would still be a target,” she said, “just because I exist.”
When she is sworn in, Tlaib will not use the Bible that is ubiquitous in the ceremony. Instead, she will use a Quran. She will also wear a Palestinian gown called a thobe.
“The incoming congresswoman said that she has considered the possibility of using Thomas Jefferson’s Quran or her own, calling the former President’s Quran a ‘symbol,’ that ‘Islam has been part of American history for a long time’,” CNN adds.
Jefferson studied the Quran, possibly to better understand the culture of many slaves being brought into the country during his time. That fact that Jefferson read the Quran has shocked many. “But I like that,” Tlaib said. “I like that it’s kind of pushing against the stereotype that somehow we’re new to this country.”
The thobe is a nod to her family’s roots. Tlaib’s mother immigrated to the US when she was 20. “Every child of immigrant parents knows what it means when … their biggest hope is that they want us to succeed, but they also don’t want us to lose a part of who we are,” she said.
For now, Tlaib is taking on the Democratic establishment. She recently had a meeting with Nancy Pelosi to discuss supporting her role as the head of the party.
“I had a meeting,” Tlaib said, “and I talked to her about poverty and I talked to her about the fact that it’s important to uplift the middle class.”
“I wanted to be able to be heard,” she said, “sometimes that means holding to your chest that vote … I wasn’t going to walk in a room and just give that up without at least making sure that she knew poverty was an important issue to us.”