One of the greatest experiences of my professional life was my campaign for Kane County State’s Attorney. In July 2019 I stepped up to run in the Democratic Primary for State’s Attorney. I wanted to see a progressive prosecutor take the reins in order to bring systemic reforms to the criminal justice system.
I loved every minute of the campaign. Our campaign put a spotlight on mass incarceration, police brutality, disproportionate arrests and convictions of Black people, other people of color, and the poor.
Thanks to the generosity of many family and friends as well as strangers, we fought hard for those whose voices are rarely heard. In forum after forum our campaign talked about systemic racism in communities that were not always ready to hear the message.
Of course, many were receptive to these important issues, and the campaign contributed to a greater awareness of injustices that impact communities of color, immigrants, the poor, and other minority groups.
My career in public service and my long record of fighting for civil rights helped earn many endorsements including a very unexpected but welcomed endorsement late in the primary race from Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Of course there were some attacks along the way. And as expected, the attacks came from the Right and the Left. Our social media was regularly trolled by hate-mongers who focused on my immigrant status or my Muslim faith. From the Left were groups angered that a person with a longstanding history of fighting for the rights of Muslims would dare speak about the threats of ISIS and other terrorist groups that seek to recruit vulnerable individuals for lone actor targeted violence in furtherance of their hate (click here to read the uncontroverted truth about my work on terrorism prevention).
The distractions did not take us off message, because the campaign was not about me. It was about the injustices in our criminal justice system, and the need to bring massive reforms to fix the problems at their roots. My candidacy ended with 14,000 votes cast for criminal justice reform; I fell short in earning the votes needed to win the primary, but the work of making our communities safer by focusing on building healthy communities continues.