Recently at the 4th annual CAIR-Georgia Gala, Imam Suhaib Webb delivered an inspirational speech on the subject of justice. He said that justice is both a means and a goal in Islam. And as I reflect on that statement and on my candidacy for Georgia’s 7th congressional district, it’s clear to me that both my personal background and lived experiences have made me a candidate whose political platform is informed by the injustices that I see around me. Moreover, my political philosophy is founded on a greater vision of what enacted justice in America would look like. I was inspired by the last election in 2018, which saw the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Talib elected to office. Their success gave me hope that one day, I too could serve my community. Allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Nabilah Islam and I am a proud daughter of Bangladeshi immigrant parents. My mother, Farida, was born in a village in Noakhali and my father, Mohammed, was born in Dhaka. When they came to this country, they lived in section 8 housing. My parents worked tirelessly to give me the opportunities they dreamed of having. I have lived the immigrant experience through my parents who needed my help navigating the legal system when my mom injured her back while working at a warehouse. Eventually, my dad became a union worker, and after graduating from Central Gwinnett High School, I worked my way through college at Georgia State University. While there, I remember being told that I would have a hard time in politics because it is a male-dominated and an elite-class dominated sector. I was discouraged, but I did not give up and went on to navigate the system by learning the ropes through local, state, and national campaigns. I quickly realized that these spaces were all about who you knew and what elite school you went to. Worse yet, I learned that communities of color were at best, an afterthought.
That’s what makes my campaign different. We do not accept any corporate PAC money, which means we are not beholden to greedy and corrupt corporations that ignore what’s in the best interest of everyday Americans. Most of our contributions are small-dollar contributions, which proudly makes us a people-powered campaign. What’s more, I did not come from the elite class. I come from a working-class family, I face working-class issues, and I will fight for working-class causes. I am the only candidate running who was raised in the district. And no one fights harder for a community than someone who of that community. When elected, I will be the first woman ever elected for the district. But more importantly, I will be the candidate who champions progressive policies that affect working families and communities of color the most.
So where are we now? Our campaign is honored to be endorsed by Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, California Congressman Ro Khanna, Indiana Congressman André Carson, Randy Bryce, Brand New Congress, 350 Climate Action, Sunrise Movement-Atlanta, Atlanta City Council Member Andre Dickens, Former Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Jason Carter, Gwinnett County Solicitor-General Brian Whiteside, Former State Senator and Democratic Whip Vincent Fort, former Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson, Emgage Action, Democratic Socialists of America Metro Atlanta Chapter, Matriarch PAC, Blue America PAC, Peace Action, Occupy Democrats, the Pakistani American Community of Atlanta (PAC Atlanta), the Bangladeshi Association of Georgia, Pakistani American Community of Atlanta, and Our Revolution Georgia.
At this point, you may be wondering “why has this district attracted so much local, state, and national attention?” Let’s talk about how crucial this district is. District 7 is 30 miles northeast of Atlanta, and is comprised of Gwinnett and Forsyth county. Gwinnett County is the 4th most diverse county in America as a quarter of our residents were born in a different country. We are a minority-majority district and yet, this district has never had a person of color or a woman as an elected official for federal office! Additionally, our district has been grossly affected by policies that have left the most vulnerable in our communities unjustly targeted.
Nearly 20% of the district wakes up every morning without health insurance- over 135,000 people (I myself was under-insured before canceling my health insurance so I could afford to run for office).
Gwinnett County has the highest rates of deportation in Georgia, with 250% more detainees being sent to ICE in 2017 than 2016. Our community has been terrorized by an abhorrent immigration policy that affects American citizens who live in mixed-status homes.
This community, like many in America, is affected by low wages. People making the federal minimum wage *which is not a living wage* cannot afford a one-bedroom apartment at the median market rate in our county.
Atlanta is well known for its traffic woes and its suburbs are no different. This community is largely disconnected from greater Atlanta due to the lack of investment in public transportation and a crumbling infrastructure.
But here’s the silver lining: we have the power to change all of that. You see, I am not running for congress as a vie for power. I am in this race because I want to bring power back to YOU, the People. That’s why we have earned the endorsement of progressives and many grassroots organizations. And I will do so by pushing for a bold, progressive agenda without selling out to the fossil fuel companies, Wall Street, or the pharmaceutical industry. Rather, this campaign is powered by a coalition of voters who understand that the most accurate measure of success for a country is measured by how well the bottom half of the country is doing. Not only that; by taking care of the working class, we ultimately strengthen and boost our economy.
Here’s how we do it:
Medicare for All: Passing a single-payer healthcare plan that leaves no American without coverage. People love their doctors, not insurance companies. I will work to catch up to the rest of the industrialized world to pass Medicare for All which will eliminate premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and cap prescription drug cost. It will also cover mental health, dental, vision, and eye-care.
Economic Equity: We need a living wage. Wages have not increased since 2009 and our buying power decreases every year. Raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour allows us to address issues with income inequality between genders and race. Economic equity also means addressing corporate welfare. The current system is rigged to benefit the top 0.1% instead of creating opportunities for all Americans. The way the system is set up today, it only benefits the wealthiest and the largest corporations. We must help our small business owners by making sure they have the starting capital afforded to them to get off the ground, protect them from federal loans that aren’t predatory, and allow them to thrive and grow into their full potential. We must strengthen our unions! My family is a proud union family and I will fight to abolish right-to-work laws at the federal level and support the broader labor movement.
Criminal Justice Reform: I will work to expand the First Step Act, which works to save billions in taxpayer dollars and gives many offenders a shot at a second chance. I will also properly vet federal judges, demilitarize the police, fight to end private prisons, and divest from ICE.
Environmental Justice: As a Muslim, I believe that we are supposed to be responsible stewards of the Earth. This means passing the Green New Deal. Prohibiting any new oil, coal, or natural gas leases on federal lands. Moreover, I will advocate on your behalf to bring eco-friendly and renewable energy jobs to our district.
Immigration Reform: I am the proud daughter of immigrants and we have seen how immigration has positively affected our district. Once elected, I will fight to ensure a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in this country. This also means giving permanent protection to DACA recipients, including expanding scholarship opportunities to DACA recipients. Nobody is illegal. I will protect documented and undocumented Americans.
If you visit my campaign site, you can see where I stand on several other issues: from reproductive rights to education. At the end of the day, I want to push forward an agenda that helps working families, and won’t disproportionately hurt communities of color. Because I have learned that if we do not fight for ourselves, no one will. Any major political movement that meant something in this country was built from the ground up: abolishing slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights, etc. And I also want for my district to finally be represented by a candidate that looks like the people she is representing (From here, for here). This is why I am running. These are the issues I care the most about and will fight tooth and nail for. This is the greater movement that I belong to. And this is why I am asking you to please follow me on social media, learn about my campaign at NabilahforCongress.com, become a volunteer, donate what you can, make calls, canvass the district, and help elect the third Muslim woman and the first Bangladeshi American woman to Congress.
Please keep in mind that the last day to register to vote for the primaries is April 24th, and the primary election itself is on May 19th. Save the date, and I look forward to having your support!
A Reason to Vote
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