Monday, April 01, 2019

Qasim Rashid-- Building Bridges Of Understanding And Tearing Down Walls Of Bigotry-- In A Red Virginia Senate Race


Blue America doesn't endorse many candidates running for state legislatures-- only men and women we feel have the potential to make profound impacts on their state and significantly strengthen the Democrats' congressional bench. Unlike most states, where people will elected their legislatures in 2020, Virginia is electing theirs in 2019-- 8 months from now. Today we decided to endorse progressive activist and attorney Qasim Rashid who is running for a Republican-held seat (SD-28) that snakes along the Potomac River (the Virginia-Maryland border) from Stratford Hall way up to where it turns into Aquia Creek. The northern part of the district, Prince William County, is made up of commuter suburbs west of DC. South of Prince William, the district is composed of Stafford, which provides 51% of the voters, King George, Westmoreland and a tiny bit of Spotsylvania county. SD-28 borders on but doesn't include Frederickburg and Manassas. It leans Republican by about 3 points and 2 years ago went for Gillespie over Northam, 54-45%. In 2016 it voted for Trump 55-39% and in 2012, the district gave Romney a 56-42% win over Obama. The current senator is Republican Richard Stuart and Rashid, a human rights lawyer, former visiting fellow at Harvard University, a current Truman Project National Security Fellow, feels he can beat him in November. We want to help.

Goal ThermometerWe asked him how a progressive Democrat, a Bernie supporter, can win in a red-leaning district, especially a progressive Democrat with the name Qasim Rashid. On the phone yesterday he told me when he's canvassing, knocking on doors, if a resident looks confused trying to read his name, he says it's like "awesome" without the first letter. Qasim's guest post is below-- and below that is one of his TED Talks. If you like what he has to say-- or if you've enjoyed his stupendous twitter feed or any of the books he's written, like The Wrong Kind of Muslim, or Extremist: A Response to Geert Wilders & Terrorists Everywhere, or Talk To Me: Changing the Narrative on Race, Religion, and Education, please consider contributing to his campaign by clicking on the ActBlue thermometer for state legislative races on the right.

Why Qasim Rashid?
-by Qasim Rashid, candidate Virginia state Senate

I migrated to the United States with my family in 1987. I didn’t know a word of English or what stood before me. We went through hardship as most families do, but we did not relent. I consider it a blessing that I learned the value of hard work at a young age-- as by 15 I was already working to help make rent for my family. It was also around this time that my brother enlisted in the US Marines. The year was 1997 and while we were proud of him, I’m not ashamed to say I was frightened I might never see him again.

Hind-sight is 20/20 and every day I am more proud that he served our nation and continues to work to improve the lives of veterans. My life turned towards human rights work at an early age. In 2004 when Hurricane Katrina struck-- my brother and I spent the last few hundred dollars we had to skip our college mid-term exams and drive down to Louisiana. We spent two weeks helping hurricane refugees piece together their lives.

In 2007 my life changed once more as I married my wonderful wife, Ayesha. Under her encouragement I applied to and was accepted to the wonderful program at Richmond Law, in Virginia. I earned my law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law, and have built a long track record of serving diverse communities in Virginia. This includes my work to combat domestic and sexual violence against women, uplift the incarcerated through prison chaplaincy, serve my neighbors through blood drives and highway clean ups, and advocate for children's education through various non-profit organizations.

To that end, I channel my passion to serve the marginalized by working with national and international non-profit organizations that advance women's rights, improve water, food, shelter, healthcare, and education access for children living in poverty, and fight to protect the religious freedom for all people. I have written numerous books, given hundreds of interviews, and testified before the US Commission on International Religious Freedom to protect the rights of persecuted religious minorities around the world. Likewise, I have worked with the US Government to improve national security here at home, while upholding the United States Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

In addition to my humanitarian commitments, I work as a consultant to help major organizations, small businesses, and non-profits improve their corporate strategies, messaging, and innovation. I love interfaith dialogue, running marathons, reading, and spending time with my wife and children.

I aspire for a campaign that prioritizes education for all students regardless of economic standing. A campaign that expands healthcare because no one should have to choose between treatment and making rent. A campaign that ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment because it is 2019, and gender equality should have been enshrined in the Constitution centuries ago. A campaign that reforms our criminal justice system and ends the new Jim Crow. 

We have a great deal of work to do, but it begins by removing those from office who serve corporate interests and vain desires. For example, 81% of Virginians support ratifying the ERA-- yet the Virginia legislature comprised mostly of men decided it wasn’t a priority, and refused to vote in favor of ratification. Likewise, finally after a 5 year battle, Virginia expanded Medicaid to include 400,000 new Virginians. Still, for 5 long years, those 400,000 people had to needlessly suffer. Moreover, while Virginia is America’s 9th wealthiest state, we are only 35thin expenditure on students. Virginia spends almost three times as much on an incarcerated inmate per year, than it does on the average student. This is a failing model and will ensure only that we cripple future generations.

As senator I seek to thrive as a public servant by actually serving and listening to the public. I’m not running against the President but for the people of Virginia. This is why the Rashid for VA campaign is powered by super people and mega hearts, not super pacs and mega corps. We welcome your support of our campaign to help ratify the ERA, increase education funding, expand healthcare, and reform criminal justice.

This is our time to build a campaign by, of, and for the people of Virginia and indeed for the benefit of all Americans.

Are you in?


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At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He sounds like a good man. I wish him luck.

At 4:09 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Impressive best of luck Qasim.

At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK. sounds good and all. ultimately irrelevant.

it's funny that you think a guy named Qasim Rashid can do anything BUT inflame bigotry in a Nazi shithole like fucking VA.

There are only a few enclaves in this cluster fuck of a shithole that are NOT islamophobic, racist Nazi shitholes. VA ain't one of them.


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