Palestinian-American congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from Michigan was sworn into Congress today wearing a traditional embroidered Palestinian dress known as a thobe, inspiring many to post images of themselves and relatives to social media wearing similar dresses.
Writing in Elle today, Tlaib explained why she opted against business attire to pay homage to her mother and her Palestinian heritage with the dress:
“Throughout my career in public service, the residents I have had the privilege of fighting for have embraced who I am, especially my Palestinian roots. This is what I want to bring to the United States Congress, an unapologetic display of the fabric of the people in this country. This is why I decided to wear a thobe when I am sworn into the 116th Congress.
My Yama (mother in Arabic) came to the United States at age of 20, and just like any immigrant parent, she wants all of her children to succeed, but without giving up on our roots and culture.
As a young girl, I watched my mother hand stitch thobes while sitting on the floor with a lamp at her side. She would make the small designs of flowers and different shapes. Just thinking about it brings up so many memories of my mother and how proud she was of being Palestinian.”
Susan Darraj started #TweetYourThobe after hearing about Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib wearing a traditional Palestinian thobe during her swear-in ceremony. Susan has galvanized Palestinian women from all over to participate to show off this historic Palestinian style. pic.twitter.com/2q9y4zTdfY
— The IMEU (@theIMEU) January 3, 2019
Thobes come in many colors and materials. Though diverse in appearance, the designs are uniformly thoughtful. The intricate patterns and tones represent different Palestinian cities and town. Some women posted pictures of themselves in dresses that were said to be more than 100 years old, passed down through generations.
— Noura Erakat (@4noura) January 3, 2019
After the swearing in, Tlaib met with supporters in her office in the Rayburn building in Washington DC, meeting of her supporters who came dressed in thobes.
As the son of a Palestinian mother, its a milestone for Palestinian-Americans to see their culture and heritage reflected in their elected officials. Young girls like my daughter and niece now have officials they can see & aspire to be like one day! @RashidaTlaib #tweetyourthobe pic.twitter.com/zJ9RPuAXPi
— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) January 3, 2019
— Lena Khalaf Tuffaha (@LKTuffaha) January 3, 2019
Like Representative @RashidaTlaib, I take pride in my Palestinian ancestry. This thobe, which is over 100 years old, belonged to my great sitty, my mother’s grandmother <3 #tweetyourthobe pic.twitter.com/2NkHJzlaf2
— Laila Mokhiber (@lailamo) January 3, 2019
— hana (@hanaknafeh) January 3, 2019
— Yasser Ashour (@yasserashour95) January 3, 2019
— han (@hannahomar59) January 3, 2019
#TweetYourThobe Solidarity w/my Palestinian sisters! Mabrouk @RashidaTlaib!!! Shukran for inviting me @SusanDarraj – have had this shawl w/ #Ramallah embroidery since 1998 and wear it often. story attached too. (quick photo below shot running to airport, sorry it wasn’t ironed!) pic.twitter.com/95SrjBqJOJ
— Alia Malek عليا مالك (@AliaMalek) January 3, 2019
— hana (@hanaknafeh) January 3, 2019
— سارة (@Saressaa) January 3, 2019
@RashidaTlaib Congratulations to #RashidaTlaib on being the first Palestinian-American sworn into Congress! She will be sworn in using Thomas Jefferson’s 1734 copy of the Quran and wearing our traditional Palestinian thobe!! #tweetyourthobe in support! 🇵🇸🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/8Oh626z4ls
— Nadia Mustafa (@jovigirl1001) January 3, 2019
This thobe is from my city, Ramallah passed from my auntie to me like many that are passed from generation to another.
The Palestinian Thobe isn’t only a beautiful&artistic piece of clothing, it also represents our history and the suffering of Palestinian people.#TweetYourThobe pic.twitter.com/8xTQtoJS0l
— حنان (@nassarha_) January 3, 2019
— Rasha (@RashaMK) January 3, 2019