By the time Rashida Tlaib finished, there was no dry eye left in the room.
"I want people across the country to know that they do not need to run out," Tlaib said early Wednesday morning. "You do not have to change who you are to run for office, and that's what this country is about."
Tlaib is set to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress after she narrowly defeated Brenda Jones, president of the Detroit City Council, in a Democratic primary race to succeed veteran Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. at Michigan's 13th congressional district. She will run unopposed in November.
In a separate Democratic primary race for a special election to serve the remaining months of Conyers' tenure, Jones prevailed over Tlaib on Wednesday afternoon, according to The Associated Press.
Tlaib, a former Michigan state legislator, a native of Detroit and the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, was so cautious in celebrating her victory that she waited until all the votes were counted – and long after The Associated Press called the race in her favor – to start your celebrations almost at 3 a.m.
"I want people from all over the country to know that they do not need to run out"
That meant that the crowd decreased significantly from the dozens who attended the observatory's previous results party, but those who stayed until early morning saw a special spectacle: a room of mostly Arab-American immigrants emotionally celebrating a US democracy that , in his opinion, has been hostile to his existence and identity.
"A lot of my strength comes from being Palestinian," he said at one point.
Tlaib's mother covered her with the Palestinian flag as she spoke.
"I will fight against any racist and oppressive structure that needs to be dismantled," Tlaib said. "You deserve better than what we have today with our president."
The eldest son of 14 years, Tlaib campaigns with a raw energy rarely seen by candidates in any of the parties. More than any single political position, his calling card is the way he has involved voters from traditionally marginalized backgrounds, calling voter interactions his "comfort zone," where he feels freer to lament against " PAC corporate money "" And the uselessness of traditional representatives.
"I'm going to reject everything that is so anti-American that it's coming out of this administration," Tlaib promised the audience. "My grandmother told me never to let a braggart tell me," Can I do this? "Or" you can not do this. "
The Tlaib victory on Wednesday completed what was a mixed evening for many Muslim voters in Detroit and Michigan. Abdul El-Sayed – the former health director of Detroit who was supported by Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., And insurgent New York Congress candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – lost a lot in the Democratic primary race for governor, which was won by the establishment's favorite, Gretchen Whitmer.
More than 90 Muslims, mostly Democrats, have participated in races for local, state or national public offices, according to Jetpac, a non-profit organization that advocates civic engagement throughout the country. With Tlaib, the group has now achieved its most outstanding victory, which is completed with a dazzling vision: sending a Muslim woman who in 2016 booed Donald Trump during a speech in Detroit on the floor of the House of Representatives.
"I won!" Tlaib exclaimed at one point, apparently in disbelief. She soon, however, corrected herself.
"US won, "she said.