Meet the Arab Americans Taking Congressional Races by Storm
By: Dina Kobeissi / Arab America Contributing Writer
More than any other time in history, the names of Arab Americans are hitting ballots across the country. It is especially unprecedented that we’ve had this many Arab Americans who are running for congressional office. Including both old and new faces, here’s a list of the candidates and a little about each of them.
1. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib is running for reelection for her third term in Congress, this time in a new district (12 as opposed to 13) merging west Detroit with Dearborn, western Wayne County, and Southfield. Rashida Tlaib was born in Detroit, Michigan, and earned a B.A. in political science from Wayne State University in 1998 and a J.D. from Thomas Cooley Law School in 2004. In 2018, Tlaib was elected to Congress, the first Palestinian-American woman in the U.S. House. and one of the first two Muslim women, along with Ilhan Omar, in Congress. To read more about Tlaib and her campaign, click the link here.
2. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)
Somali-American Ilhan Omar is running for reelection for her third term in Congress to continue representing Minnesota’s Fifth District. Omar was the first woman of color elected to the U.S. Congress to represent Minnesota, one of the first two Muslim women, and the first Somali-American, in Congress. Omar fled Somalia when she was eight years old and lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for four years before coming to the U.S. To read more about Omar and her campaign, click the link here.
3. lymen Chehade (D-IL)
Palestinian-American Iymen Chehade from Chicago Illinois is running to represent the 3rd Congressional District of Chicago. A once high school dropout, Iymen now holds a professorship at Columbia College Chicago. Iymen’s mission is concerned with public education and underfunded schools, and the negative implications of rising property taxes. Iymen’s campaign also advocates for union protection and an overall healthy and vibrant community that should be achievable by all. To learn more about Iymen and his campaign, click the link here.
4. Rana Abdelhamid (D-NY)
Egyptian-American Rana Abdelhamid is running for Congress in New York’s 12th Congressional district. Born and raised in New York City, Rana grew up attending New York City public schools and is a community leader, as she is the founder of Hijabis of New York and the Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment. Rana’s primary values include community, solidarity, and education. To learn more about Rana Abdelhamid’s campaign, click the link here.
5. Muad Hrezi (D-CT)
Libyan-American Muad Hrezi is running for Congress in Connecticut’s 1st Congressional District. Muad is a first-generation American and one of six children. He was born to immigrant parents who came to America as asylum-seekers and settled in Connecticut. After serving in the halls of Congress, he saw first-hand how his life’s journey could inspire others toward change. To learn more about Hrezi’s campaign, click the link here.
6. Huwaida Arraf (D-MI)
Palestinian-American Huwaida Arraf is running for Congress in Michigan’s 10th Congressional District. Arraf is a mother, human rights advocate, attorney, and first-generation American focused on building a brighter future for all Michigan families. Born and raised in Southeastern Michigan, Huwaida learned the values of hard work, faith, and community from her working-class immigrant parents, who came to this country to build a better life for their family. Huwaida pursued her passion for standing up for others by becoming a civil rights attorney and founder of the International Solidarity Movement, a global organization focused on challenging government oppression, ending human rights abuses, and standing up for the freedom and dignity of oppressed people in her parents’ homeland of Palestine and around the world. To learn more about Arraf’s campaign, click the link here.
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