Meet the first Latina senator in U.S. history and other women of color who broke barriers last night

“Do we retreat or do we fight? WE FIGHT!”

Sen.-elect Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., speaks to supporters after her victory at an election watch party in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. CREDIT: AP Photo/Chase Stevens
Sen.-elect Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., speaks to supporters after her victory at an election watch party in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. CREDIT: AP Photo/Chase Stevens

Tuesday night was a rough night for many women and minorities across the country, with the announcement that Donald J. Trump would become the 45th President of the United States, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton.

But even though the ultimate glass ceiling remains intact, women — particularly women of color — had some very significant victories at the local and state level.

This election saw the election of the United States’ first Latina senator, first female Indian-American congresswomen, first female Vietnamese-American congresswoman, and first Somali-American Muslim woman legislator.

Meet the women who prove there is still room for diversity in politics.

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

In Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto became the first Latina senator in U.S. history when she defeated Republican Rep. Joe Heck.

Masto, who is the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant and served two terms as Nevada’s chief law enforcement officer, will fill the seat left behind by the retirement of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D). Her campaign focused on comprehensive immigration reform, equal pay for equal work, an increased minimum wage, and paid family leave.

She gave her victory speech just before the presidential election was announced for Trump, and announced her intention to fight against him in the Senate.

“I will promise you this, I will be one hell of a check and balance on him,” she told her supporters.

California Senator Kamala Harris (D)

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who was born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican-American father, had a truly trailblazing win in California, where she defeated fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez.

Harris is the first-ever Indian American senator, the first black senator from California, and the second-ever black female senator. (The only other black woman in the Senate was last in office in 1999.)

“Whatever the results of the presidential election tonight, we know that we have a task in front of us. We know the stakes are high,” Harris told her supporters during her victory speech in Los Angeles. “When we have been attacked and when our ideals and fundamental ideals are being attacked, do we retreat or do we fight? I say we fight!”

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, Attorney General Kamala Harris greets supporters at a election night rally Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 in Los Angeles. CREDIT: AP Photo/Chris Carlson
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, Attorney General Kamala Harris greets supporters at a election night rally Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 in Los Angeles. CREDIT: AP Photo/Chris Carlson

Florida Representative Stephanie Murphy (D)

Democrat Stephanie Murphy got a key victory in Florida when the defeated John Mica, a Republican who has been in Congress for 23 years, in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

Murphy is now the first Vietnamese-American woman to ever be elected to Congress. She is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, who were rescued by the U.S. navy at sea while they fled communist Vietnam in a boat.

According to the Washington Post, this was one of the tightest and most expensive House contests in the nation. Murphy, 37, is a first-time candidate and said she was inspired to enter the race after the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Minneapolis State Representative Ilhan Omar (D)

In Minnesota, Ihlan Omar became the first Somali-American Muslim woman legislator in American history when she was elected to the state legislature on Tuesday night.

Omar’s family escaped the Somali civil war when she was eight, then spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before immigrating to the United States.

“It’s the beginning of something new,” Omar said. “This district has a legacy of making history. I am excited for our progressive values and to be able to be on the ground at the Capitol representing the diverse people of my district and being a champion with them and for them.”

When Omar first arrived in the United States, she was struck by the prevalence of racial and economic inequality and religious intolerance in the country. She ran a campaign focused on criminal justice reform, climate change, and economic equality.

“It is the land of liberty and justice for all, but we have to work for it,” Omar told The Huffington Post in October.

Washington Representative Pramila Jayapal (D)

Pramila Jayapal, who is currently a state representative in Washington, defeated fellow democrat Brady Walkinshaw on Tuesday to win the state’s 7th Congressional District (which the Seattle Times described as “super liberal”) and become the first Indian-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jayapal, 57, supports a $15-an-hour minimum wage and a ban on assault weapons, and opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership.

She immigrated to America when she was 16 years old, and with the Trump presidency becoming a reality as she gave her victory speech, she addressed the difficulty of the road ahead of this country.

“If our worst fears are realized, we will be on the defense as of tomorrow,” she told her supporters in Seattle. “We will have to fight for social justice as never before.”

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth (D)

Tammy Duckworth, who is currently a representative for Illinois, defeated incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk (R) on Tuesday. The daughter of a Thai mother of Chinese descent is a military veteran who lost both of her legs in the Iraq War.

Duckworth is the first female senator to have seen combat, the second Asian-American woman to be elected to the Senate in U.S. history, and the second female senator from Illinois. She is taking the Senate seat that used to be occupied by President Barack Obama.

Sen.-elect Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., celebrates her win over incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., during her election night party, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, in Chicago. CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
Sen.-elect Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., celebrates her win over incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., during her election night party, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, in Chicago. CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

“I will go to work in the Senate looking to honor the sacrifice and quiet dignity of those Illinoisans facing challenges of their own,” Duckworth said on Tuesday. “After all, this nation didn’t give up on me when I was my most vulnerable and needing the most help. I believe in an America that doesn’t give up on anyone who hasn’t given up on themselves.”