On April 4, America’s first Somali legislator —Rep. Ilhan Omar (D)â—âmade a speech on the House floor about the connection between today’s Black Lives Matter activists and civil rights icons like Martin Luther King Jr. She was speaking out in opposition to a Republican bill that would increase penalties for protesters if they block highwaysâ—âa tactic that has been used in Minnesota in response to the deaths of Jamar Clark and Philando Castile at the hands of cops.
But many Republicans weren’t around to hear what Omar and other Minnesota legislators of color like Rep. Susan Allen (D) had to say. Instead of being on the floor, they were relaxing in a separate room.
House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman (D) wasn’t happy about it. So she made a “call of the House” to get members back to the floor.