The Indian American

violations. Fox News ran a story, online and on TV, with the headline ‘Is Detroit Councilwoman’s home part of city’s blight problem?” In the era of ban against some Muslim-majority nations and xenophobia, Bhojwani writes of the case of Ilhan Omar, born in Somalia who unseated Phyllis Kahn who served for 44 years on the Minnesota State Legislature, in 2016. An ethnic Somali, Omar moved to Minneapolis at the age of 14, after her family had lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for four years. Her first years in America were spent in middle school, as a refugee. “I felt all of my otherness, as a black woman, Muslim, immi- grant,” she told Bhojwani. For Omar, however, all that changed quickly. “But just over a year later, all that felt “suspended” when she received a certificate of student achievement signed by then president Bill Clinton. That moment was pivotal: it marked the first time she felt American. Even with all the public identi- ties that seemed to marginalize her, she says: “to our President, I was just a student,”’ writes Bhojwani. “Millions of Americans have stories like this one, about the moment when something shifts internally, moving them from asking, “What Am I doing here?” to a moment like the one Ilhan had when she held that certificate in her hands and realized she could be just another American student. “I thought, I’m home; I’m fine,” writes Bhojwani. Another successful immigrant story, like that of Omar, and somebody who also grew up a in a refugee camp is Fue Lee, a 24-year-old born in a Thai refugee camp, who defeated fellow Democrat and 20-year- old incumbent Joe Mullery, for House District 59A in Minnesota. Bhojwani also delves into the rigors of public life, and the financial toll it takes to actually have commitment for the job to serve constituents. “A life in public office in 43 THE INDIAN AMERICAN OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2018 People Like Us by Sayu Bhojwani.