Eusebio Omar Van Reenen

Omar is a gay Namibian civil rights and LGBTQ+ activist, with a passion for social justice and community organizing. They hold a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science and Gender & Sexuality Studies from the State University of New York (SUNY). At SUNY they were elected as the first international student Vice President of the largest student government in the United States. As a student activist they were instrumental in championing policies that addressed gender equality, police brutality, environmental and racial justice issues across New York. As a former intern for Senator Charles Schumer and  Field Organizer for Dana Balter’s Congressional campaign, Omar has extensive knowledge and experience in policy law and grassroots campaign organizing- which they hope to translate in uplifting policies and communities disenfranchised by the political system. In March 2021, Omar co-founded Equal Namibia, a youth-led social movement fighting for LGBTQ+ Constitutional rights. At the helm of the movement they were instrumental in pushing the national government to abolish apartheid-era the Sodomy Law, campaigned for political parties to reform their manifestos and include LGBTQ+ equality and testified at the nation’s first Parliamentary Public hearing on legalizing safe abortions. Their advocacy efforts have championed multiple LGBTQ+ court cases resulted in the High Court recognizing sexual orientation and gender identity as a prohibited ground of discrimination.

As a Master’s alum from the Human Rights and Democratization in Africa program, Omar hopes to use this degree to end State-Sanctioned Homophobic policies in Namibia, and envision a Republic where LGBTQ+ persons are emancipated from the shackles of discrimination. Omar believes LGBTQ+ rights is the civil rights issue of our generation, that is why they expect the HRDA program to be more than just about politics, but about having a cross-cultural understanding and awareness of what’s happening within our institutions and society.

The future is calling, it demands justice, and it demands equality. This depends not on how we understand past oppressions or idealize a future government that works for us all, but it depends on how we act in the present- in the present there is no  freedom if there  is no equality


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