Human Rights

Muslim African-American woman to contest for US Congress membership from white majority area  

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud is one of the five woman who is contesting in the Democratic primary in the US Congressional elections with a bid to become the first Muslim woman congressman. She is part of a group of progressive Democrats who are opposed to the current US President’s policies.

If victory is guaranteed, she would also be known as her district’s first woman and first African American in Congress. However, things seem icky as her opponent, Richard Neal has served in Congress since 1989. He has raised $ 3 million, compared to her $72,000.

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Her team consists of 300 volunteers who have built a grass-roots campaign and go from door to door to hear the problems of the citizens. Her main causes for which she champions include Medicare for everyone, wider access to high-speed internet, affordable education and abstaining from corporate and special interest donations.

“There are times where I could see that people are surprised that I present the way that I do,” she tells AFP. “But have I had overt nasty racism right in my face? No, I’m grateful for that. I hope that that never happens.”

While working in an environment that is seething with Islamophobia and racism, she states that Trump’s victory changed the entire scenario.

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“Some of his policy, some of his character was alarming to people… I had friends and neighbors, clients who told me that they were waking up feeling they had an elephant on their chest,” she said. “Their futures did not look bright.”

“It’s time for a change. Western Mass is suffering and we just need more people to get into Washington to help out the cause,” Deanna Williams who is part of the campaign told AFP. “Too many people are struggling and don’t have a job.”

The campaigner is ‘very’ confident of winning against her rival, but if she doesn’t win, she says she’s not going anywhere.

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