Ilhan Omar answers ‘send her back’ with Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”
WASHINGTON – Rep. Ilhan Omar responded to a crowd of Trump supporters chanting for her to be sent back to Somalia on Wednesday with a quote from a poem by Maya Angelou.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
She posted the stanza from the poem along with a link to a tweet about the chant from Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, who called the incident “one of the most chilling and horrifying things I’ve ever seen in politics.”
Trump attacked Omar for comments she made about the pro-Israeli lobby that were widely condemned for playing into anti-Semitic tropes, and for a remark she made that was perceived as downplaying the 9/11 terrorist attacks, amid a screed against the Minnesota Democrat and three other liberal congresswomen who are collectively known as “the Squad.”
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The president said Omar, along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, “hate our country” and said, “If they don’t like it, let them leave.”
As he criticized Omar, who came to the U.S. in the 1990s as a refugee from Somalia, members of the North Carolina crowd began to chant “send her back.”
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley and Tlaib should “go back” to their countries of origin and fix the problems there before “telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run.”
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His tweets against the four minority women, three of whom were born in U.S. and all of whom are U.S. citizens, were denounced as racist and were condemned as such in a House resolution on Tuesday.
“Still I Rise” is the title poem from Angelou’s 1978 book “And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems.”
According to Lyman Hagen, author of “Heart of a Woman, Mind of a Writer and Soul of a Poet: A Critical Analysis of the Writings of Maya Angelou,” it was her favorite of her poems. Angelou said the title referred to the “indomitable spirit of black people,” Hagen wrote.
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