April 30, 2019
The Hill: Angela Davis, Ayanna Pressley lead rally in support of Ilhan Omar
Activist Angela Davis and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) joined numerous other black women activists and members of Congress in a rally Tuesday to support Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
Davis and Barbara Ransby, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and adviser to the Movement for Black Lives, told Democracy Now they planned the event, called Black Women in Defense of Ilhan Omar, in response to escalating attacks against the freshman Democrat, who said death threats against her spiked after conservatives accused her of minimizing the 9/11 attacks and President Trump tweeted a video interspersing her words with images from the attacks.
Trump, Davis said, “uses this bizarre logic of fungibility, where one Muslim represents the worst—or all Muslims, rather, represent the worst deeds that any Muslim has ever conducted,” a logical process she said was “at the heart of racism.”
“Trump has been vitriolic toward so many groups, but I think there’s a particular venom when it comes to black women,” Ransby added, citing both his attacks on Omar and his frequent taunts of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and his 2017 feud with Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), who accused him of making a Gold Star widow cry by telling her that her late husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, “knew what he signed up for.”
“I am changing the things I can no longer accept, and from R. Kelly to Donald Trump, what we can no longer accept is the silencing of black women,” Pressley, who, like Omar, was elected to Congress in 2018, said at the event. “We are reclaiming our rightful place.”
Omar and Pressley’s fellow freshman lawmaker Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) also attended the event. Tlaib and Omar are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.
Multiple people have been arrested for allegedly threatening to assault and kill Omar, including a Florida man who accused her of being a member of the Taliban and a New York man who allegedly threatened to “put a bullet in her f—ing skull.” Before the 9/11 remarks, she was also the target of critics who accused her of invoking anti-Semitic stereotypes in her criticisms of pro-Israel lobbying groups.