Ilhan Omar is making history as one of the America’s first Muslim women in Congress — and now she’s poised to change history, too.
The Democratic representative from Minnesota announced on Instagram Sunday night that she’s working on an initiative to overturn a 181-year rule banning House members from wearing hats, which could also inhibit Omar from wearing a headscarf for religious reasons.
In the post, she shared a screenshot of a TIME magazine article about her attire and captioned it: “No one puts a scarf on my head but me. It’s my choice — one protected by the first amendment. And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift.”
According to House.gov, the House ban on headwear was put in place in 1837 and has been a heated topic ever since. Over the years, many members have appreciated the symbolism of no hats because it distinguished U.S. government traditions from those of the U.K., but others have insisted that hats are “harmless.”
The Washington Post reported on Friday that House Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rules Committee ranking Rep. Jim McGovern and Omar, all Democrats, co-authored a proposal to accommodate religious headwear along with several other fixes. Examples include establishing an independent diversity office and banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Omar was born in Somalia and moved to the U.S. when she was 12 after the civil war broke out. According to The New Yorker, at the time, the only English she knew was “hello” and “shut up.”
Earlier this month, after winning her midterm election, she became the first Somali-American congresswoman in U.S. history. She and Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib are the first two Muslim women in Congress.
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“Here in Minnesota, we don’t only welcome immigrants; we send them to Washington,” Omar told supporters at a victory party, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
“I stand here before you tonight, as your congresswoman-elect, with many firsts behind my name,” she continued, The Post reports. “The first woman of color to represent our state in Congress … The first refugee ever elected to Congress, and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.”