Who Is Nida Allam? Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam is the first Muslim woman to ever be elected to public office in North Carolina. But this achievement is not enough for Allam who now plans to run from North Carolina’s sixth congressional district for Congress as Democrat, a political party in the United States, member. If elected, Nida Allam will be the third Muslim woman in Congress, after Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
Apart from serving as the Durham County Commissioner, she is also a senior leader in the North Caroline Democratic Party and has served as the chair of the Durham Mayor’s Council for Women. According to her campaign website, Allam promises to “fight for a brighter future of all North Carolinians.”
Last year, the 27-year-old Democrat announced that she will be running for Congress and hopes that voters see her as “someone who’s going to hit the ground running and get to work in Congress.” She is running for the seat held by Representative David Price since 1987- he will retire in 2022.
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A daughter of Pakistani and Indian immigrants, Nida grew up in Wake County. She graduated in sustainable materials and technology, a subject that had her interest and graduated from the North Carolina State University in 2015. In February the same, Allam’s friends and fellow students Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were gunned down in Chapel Hill.
The entire incident was framed as a parking dispute despite the deceaseds’ family insisting on the incident being a hate crime. In 2019, the shooter was sentenced and the law enforcement officers acknowledged it as a hate crime. The death of people so close to her veered Allam towards joining politics.
In an interview, she said, “We can’t stand by and not be involved in politics and not speak up, because politics affects our lives every single day. If we don’t speak up and share our own stories, somebody else is going to write it for us.”
Who Is Nida Allam?
Born in Canada, Nida Allam moved along with her family to North Caroline, when she was five years old.
Even though she has grown up in an apolitical family, in 2015, she turned down a job opportunity in a technology company and started working on the campaign for the Democratic nomination of Bernie Sanders.
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As a Muslim woman in politics, she faced islamophobia and surprised looks from people around. According to Allam, “I had obviously a lot of factors going up against me. I wore a hijab. I’m brown. I’m there for democratic Socialistic candidates.”
In 2016, she moved to Queens in New York and next year January 2017 she was elected as the third vice-chairperson of the North Carolina Democratic Party and the first Muslim to join the executive council. In 2020, she was appointed to Durham Mayor’s Council for Women and in the same year, she won a seat in the Durham County Board of Commissioners.
She currently serves on the Board of Health, Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, Durham History of Museum, Durham Partnership for Children, EMS Peer Review Committee, Open Space and Trails Commission, Project Access Steering Committee and Workforce Development Board.
In her campaign for the Congressional seat, she has raised the issues on high-quality public education, Green New Deal, affordable housing and reproductive justice.