Four Reasons Why!
That’s what pushed Raaheela Ahmed to run for office and win – TWICE!
Raaheela Ahmed was a freshman at UMD when her dad, Shukoor Ahmed, kept insisting she had four good reasons to run for a seat on the Prince George’s County School Board in Maryland.
“You’re passionate about education, our community needs you in this role, you’re qualified, and I will support you!”
So Raaheela decided to go for it.
She has just won a second term – this time getting 57.26% of the vote. And Raaheela is only in her mid twenties!
It’s been a family affair for the Ahmeds – and this is no ordinary family. Raaheela belongs to one that takes persistence to new heights. Ever since her dad first went on the campaign trail many years ago, cousins and family members would have sleepovers to assemble campaign materials. Even today, says Raaheela, her grandparents are ‘out there’ campaigning for her.
Her dad brought members of the community to the polls, introducing many them to the democratic process. Raaheela’s own 2016 run brought many more young people out to support her race. Running for office has had a ‘cascading effect’ says Raaheela. It’s galvanized other young people to run for office in 2018 and 2020, including her own sister.
As a woman of color, “You have to believe in yourself, ” Raaheela says. This remarkable young woman tells DesiCollective the story of her immigrant family’s runs for local office and never giving up, even after losing some of them. In her second term, she has plans to help the students in her county during the pandemic and beyond.
This story is the seventh in our series on conversation with candidates – SHORT TAKES for India Currents – where contenders for political office share their aspirations and plans with our community!
If you live in Prince George’s County in Maryland or anywhere else, take a look! You will be inspired to run yourself.
SHORT TAKES/DesiCollective: South Asians are Running for Political Office