Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman candidate, wants To ‘humanize’ Palestinians once she’s in Congress
14 August 2018|02 Dhul Hijjah| Huffington Post
Former Michigan state legislator Rashida Tlaib is set to make history on several fronts after her primary win on Tuesday for a U.S. House seat in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District.
With no Republican challenger in November, Tlaib is set to become the first Palestinian-American woman and first Muslim woman in Congress. (Other candidates, including Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar, are hoping to join her in the latter feat.)
Speaking to HuffPost on Thursday not even 48 hours after her victory, Tlaib said her barrier-breaking win was “overwhelming, but also very inspiring.” Last month, the Detroit-born daughter of Palestinian immigrants told HuffPost she just wanted “people like me to have a seat at the table.”
“When you think about these stories ― someone that didn’t speak English when they started school, parents with no high school diploma now able to witness their daughter to become a member of Congress ― it’s a pretty spectacular American story,” she said.
Tlaib shared that her family members still living in the West Bank ― where her roots are “still very strong” ― were “absolutely proud” of her win, particularly her grandmother.
“I’m going to be a voice for them,” Tlaib said, lamenting the “walls and fences” that separate Palestinians and Israelis, “two people who have so much more in common.”
“I look forward to being able to humanize so many of them that have felt ‘less than’ for so long,” she added.
Tlaib won a tight primary race on Tuesday, partly with the backing of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another progressive woman of color now famous for her upset win in New York in June. Tlaib plans to send some members of her own campaign field team to help get out the vote for Omar, whose primary is in Minnesota next week.
“It feels incredible to be part of a movement,” the mother of two said. She is one of a record wave of Muslim candidates and unprecedented number of female candidates running for office in 2018.
“All of these women of color are changing the landscape of Congress,” she said.