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AOC, Omar, Pressley, Talib: Who are 'the squad' of congresswomen?

[img]https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/320/cpsprodpb/6021/production/_107890642_gettyimages-1133011035.jpg" width="976" height="549">
Three members of "the squad": (L-R) Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
US President Donald Trump has sparked racial controversy this weekend with tweets calling on several Democratic congresswomen of colour to "go home". The congresswomen, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, all American citizens, accused the president of being racist. Mr Trump did not explicitly name the women, but the context and references established a clear link. Who are the lawmakers he referred to as "the squad" at the centre of the storm[/img]
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Ms Tlaib at a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, often referred to as AOC, made waves in the Democratic Party last June when she defeated political veteran and establishment favourite Joe Crowley in their party's primary.
The 29-year-old went on to beat Republican candidate Anthony Pappas in the November mid-terms, becoming the youngest ever US congresswoman. The freshman lawmaker was born in the Bronx, New York to parents of Puerto Rican descent. She has a degree in economics and international relations from Boston University, and worked as a community organiser, educator and bartender before deciding to run for office.
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Since her election, the self-described democratic socialist has become a lightning rod for the political right. Ms Ocasio-Cortez has not shied away from the spotlight, frequently taking to social media to hit back at Republicans, members of the media and other critics on a range of issues including immigration, poverty and race.
AOC, Omar, Pressley, Talib: Who are 'the squad' of congresswomen?

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Ocasio-Cortez on detained migrants: 'The women were told to drink out of a toilet bowl'
She has earned a reputation for her impassioned testimonies at congressional hearings, which are often re-circulated among her nearly five million Twitter followers. She has been particularly vocal in her push for environmental policy, serving as one of the sponsors of the Green New Deal resolution, which calls upon the US to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions along with other goals. Ms Ocasio-Cortez has also been outspoken in her criticism of the president. In an interview with CBS News shortly after being sworn in to the US House of Representatives, Ms Ocasio-Cortez said there is "no question" that Mr Trump is a racist. "The words he uses…are historic dog whistles of white supremacy," she said. "The president certainly didn't invent racism, but he's certainly given a voice to it".
Ilhan Omar
Ms Omar speaks at a news conference in Washington DC in June
First-term congresswoman Ilhan Omar won a Minnesota seat in the House of Representatives last November, becoming the first Somali-American legislator in the US.Her family first came to the US as refugees from Somalia, settling in Minneapolis in 1997 after fleeing the country's civil war. She became a citizen in 2000. The 37-year-old mother of three is one of the first two Muslim women ever elected to the US Congress. Before her election to Congress, she served in Minnesota's state legislature, making her the then highest elected Somali-American public official in the US. Ms Omar's precedent-setting tenure has earned both adoration and criticism.
AOC, Omar, Pressley, Talib: Who are 'the squad' of congresswomen?

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Ilhan Omar on her journey to becoming the first Somali-American lawmaker in the US
Shortly after her election, she drew praise for fighting to change a 181-year ban on headwear in the House, allowing her to wear a hijab for her oath of office.But Ms Omar has also faced repeated accusations of anti-Semitism. She was forced to apologise for a series of tweets in February that suggested that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) was buying influence for pro-Israel policies.Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said the tweets stoked anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and money. Ms Omar later released a statement "unequivocally" apologising for her tweets."Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes," Ms Omar wrote.
Rashida Tlaib
Ms Tlaib and Ms Omar talk before Mr Trump's second State of the Union address
Much like the other congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib's election this November made history. The Michigan Democrat is the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ms Tlaib is the daughter of Palestinian immigrant parents. Her grandmother still lives in the West Bank.
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She was sworn into office wearing a traditional Palestinian garment stitched by her mother.Ms Tlaib also joined Ms Omar as one of the first two Muslim women ever elected to serve in Congress. The eldest of 14 siblings, Ms Tlaib became the first member of her family to graduate from high school, and then from college and law school. Since assuming office, Ms Tlaib has been an outspoken critic of the president. She courted controversy when she used explicit language when calling for the president's impeachment.
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I will always speak truth to power. #unapologeticallyMe— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 4, 2019
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End of Twitter post by @RashidaTlaib
Ms Tlaib was unapologetic about the furore incited by her remark, tweeting that she would "always speak truth to power".
Ayanna Pressley
Ms Pressley at a House Financial Services Committee hearing
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, 45, is the first African-American woman to be elected to the US Congress from Massachusetts. Born in Cincinnati and raised in Ohio, Ms Pressley is the only child of a single mother. After attending Boston University, she served as a senior aide to Congressman Joseph P Kennedy II, and worked for Senator John Kerry for 13 years.
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Her own political career began in 2009, when she waged a successful bid for Boston City Council, becoming the first woman of colour elected to the council in its 100-year history. Similar to Ms Ocasio-Cortez, Ms Pressley's election to the US Congress involved a major political upset: she unseated 10-term Democratic congressman Michael Capuano in their party's primary. Since assuming office in January, Ms Pressley has been a vocal advocate of abortion rights, pushing to repeal an amendment that prevents Medicaid from covering abortions for low-income Americans.A survivor of sexual violence, Ms Pressley has also spoken up for better protections for assault victims, writing on her website that "the people closest to the pain should be closest to the power".
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