Local elections across the country were held on November 7th, and Jetpac was proud to have five Fellows and allied organizers running for office in these important elections.
After knocking over 20,000 doors, Jetpac Fellowship Advisor Sumbul Siddiqui won in her first-ever run for Cambridge, MA City Council. Sumbul was elected entirely from “first choice” votes in Cambridge’s standard transferable vote system—the only challenger to do so—with a total of 2532 votes. She was second only to the incumbent Mayor. Siddiqui is the first South Asian American, and first Muslim woman, to be elected to Cambridge City Council. Come January, she will replace Nadeem Mazen as the highest-ranking Muslim elected official in Massachusetts.
Jetpac Fellow Afroz Khan was also successful in her bid for for one of five Newburyport City Council At-Large seats. Afroz built community support from the start of her campaign, and although she faced negative rhetoric because of her faith, she remained steadfastly focused on the real issues that Newburyport residents are facing. She secured her seat with 4,379 votes—well ahead of the six other at-large candidates.
In Malden, MA, Jetpac Fellow Nichole Mossalam ran for School Committee, where she ran an excellent campaign that was ultimately unsuccessful against the incumbent. Nichole built an alliance of minority voters, many of whom had never voted before, to bring important issues into the political dialogue while battling against an Islamophobic whisper campaign. We wish her the best for her future endeavours, and know that in two years’ time, she’ll be even more successful.
Asima Azam ran for the District 3 Commissioner seat for the City of Orlando, FL. Facing an Islamophobic push-poll, Asima was not successful against her incumbent, but highlighted accessibility and accountability for the people of Orlando. It was a very tight race that saw Asima within just two percentage points of the eleven-year incumbent.
Kemal Bozkurt ran for Lawrence, MA School Committee and came within 100 votes of winning. Kemal is a community activist who is continuing to organize within Lawrence, briefly held the school committee seat after a successful sticker campaign in 2015.
Jetpac is very glad to see an increase in local Muslim representation across the country, and we wish all of our Fellows well for their future—whether as newly elected incumbents, or as organizers who continue to work within communities to help amplify voices. “We’re winning,” said Shaun Kennedy, Executive Director of Jetpac. “Bit by bit, person by person, American Muslims are winning seats. All of our allies and Fellows have something to be proud of in this election cycle, and the fact that most of them faced Islamophobic attacks simply highlights the necessity of our mission.”
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