I am running for this seat because I want to give back to the city that has given so much to my family and my East African community. In an era where simply being an immigrant is a strong political statement, I want to be a voice for those who feel like they are not being heard at the Capitol. From the moment I arrived in Minnesota, I’ve served as a street-level activist, a community-based member of the media, and a progressive fighter for legislative action at the Capitol. Representative Karen Clark has offered her support to my campaign, of which I am very proud!
My story is one that is shared by many of you: a story of achievement in the face of great adversity, on challenges met, and obstacles overcome. My life path has led me through multiple locales: I was born in the southern Somalia city of Jilib, and have lived in Italy, Alabama, Florida, Virginia, and our nation’s capital of Washington, D.C. Eight years ago, my two sons and I arrived in Minneapolis – a land of opportunity that already featured a vibrant Somali community – and I knew that we had found our home.
Since relocating to this wonderful city, I have dedicated my life to being a leader in our community, particularly in representing and advocating for East African women and children. In 2012, I founded Voice of East African Women (VEAW), a non-profit organization offering shelter, support, advocacy, prevention and education services to survivors of domestic violence, which provides a pathway to overcome abuse and succeed in their renewed lives. Earlier this year, I expanded upon this effort by opening a shelter to help women and children escape domestic abuse and trafficking, and to navigate the many complicated systems that impact victims.
In addition to my work for East African communities, I have been part of multiple concerns throughout the Twin Cities that aid the lives of our communities, including African-Americans, LGBTQ, Latino Americans, Asian-Americans, American Indians, and single mothers of all backgrounds. I serve as Second Vice President of the Twin Cities chapter of the NAACP and a member of UBLA; I earned a community award from Metropolitan Inter-faith Coalition for Affordable Housing (MICAH) for my work to advance access to affordable housing; and I worked side-by-side with legendary Representative Karen Clark to fight the Photo ID Amendment and the horrific Marriage Amendment that shamefully appeared on our ballots in 2012, serving as a strong East African voice in our campaign to defeat these un-American attempts to restrict our freedoms. As a mother of two children, a future where everyone has equal opportunity is extremely important to me.
In 2011, I served as an assistant for progressive City Council member Cam Gordon. In addition, I brought important issues to the forefront in State Legislature, where I worked on bills to address domestic violence, opportunities for youth and for elders, and fairness in trade with East Africa – several of which were passed by the Minnesota Legislature, and signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton. I also have extensive experience with the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party: I served as Vice Chair for SD 60 and the DFL Somali-American Caucus; I was elected to the position of State Director for the Minnesota DFL, and was appointed as Co-Chair of the State Convention in 2016. I also had the opportunity to join our delegation to the most recent Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
I greatly look forward to talking with you on the campaign trail and seeing you at the Caucus on February 6! If you have any questions about my vision for District 62A, or want to share yours, please contact me by email at VoteForFarhio@gmail.com, and check out my interviews with influential figures throughout the metro area on the Farhio Khalif YouTube channel. Please share this message with your friends and family, and I cannot wait to hear about your concerns, and will see you in the upcoming months!