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.
In March, Nadia received the St. Louis Park Human Rights Award in recognition of her “continuous dedication, leadership in connecting and communicating across cultures and ability to find new ways to build relationships in the community,” according to a city news release.
Her campaign platform focused on racial equity, affordable housing, youth engagement and climate action.
Throughout Nadia’s campaign, she emphasized the importance of being inclusive of the whole community.
“I really want to make sure that everybody [is] being heard and they are part of the building process,” Mohamed told the St. Louis Park Echo.
Becky Z. Dernbach is a Minneapolis-based freelance journalist. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times and The Guardian.