Ilhan Omar Joins Pelosi, Black Lawmakers on Trip to Africa to Mark Anniversary of First Slaves in America, Address ‘Climate Crisis’

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., left, whispers to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) led a Congressional delegation that includes 12 members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to Africa, where they are to “pay respects” at Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, site of the “Door of No Return” in Ghana, on the 400th anniversary of the first slaves to arrive in the United States from that country.

Omar is on the Home Foreign Affairs Committee, an assignment that has been controversial because of her record of antisemitic and anti-Israel remarks. Omar’s family came to the United States as refugees from Somalia, a country in the Horn of Africa that the U.S. State Department warned Americans not to travel to because of “crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and piracy.”

Black Star News reported that the group arrived on Sunday and plans for the trip to include discussions in Ghana about the “climate crisis.”

“En route to Ghana, the delegation visited Saturday with top officials of U.S. Africa Command at its headquarters in Vicenza, Italy,” All Africa reported. Pelosi said:

As we face evolving global security challenges, our delegation will thank our men and women in uniform and receive briefings from U.S. military leaders at U.S. Army Africa headquarters. In Ghana, our delegation looks forward to high-level discussions on key issues such as regional security, sustainable and inclusive development and the challenges of tomorrow including the climate crisis.

Pelosi called it a “special honor” to be the first U.S. Speaker to address the parliament in Ghana on Wednesday.

House Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) said in the article that he is the chairman of the International African American Museum under construction in Charleston, South Carolina, “where approximately 50 percent of enslaved Africans arrived in this country.”

“I seek to pay homage to the sacrifices of our African ancestors and honor the contributions they made to building the United States of America,” Clyburn said. 

Voice of America reported that ahead of the trip, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) issued a statement that said, “400 years ago this year, our ancestors were first brought to (the future United States) in chains. On this delegation, 12 members of the Congressional Black Caucus will return to the African continent as members of the United States Congress. We have come so far, but we still have so far to go.”

Others on the trip include Reps. John Lewis (D-GA), Bobby Rush (D-ILL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Federica Wilson (D-FL), and Joyce Beatty (D-OH).

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