BY VEENA RAO
(With inputs from IANS)
Atlanta, GA, May 23, 2018: Aisha Yaqoob, a woman of color, Muslim, activist and the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, defeated Wayne Slear (71.16% to 28.84%) in the Georgia House of Representatives District 97 Democratic primary election on Tuesday. She will face the winner of the June 24 run-off between Republicans Bonnie Rich and Kipper Tabb.
Dr Indran Indrakrishnan, noted gastroenterologist and Emory professor, lost to Rich and Tabb in the crowded Republican primary, that had a total of six contenders. The House seat is being vacated by retiring Republican State Rep. Brooks Coleman.
Aisha is a professional advocate for immigrant rights at the state Capitol, working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to push for civil rights for immigrants and people of color. As policy director for a nonprofit legal and advocacy center, Aisha monitors local, state, and federal policies that affect immigrants and works to fight for their rights.
Aisha moved to Gwinnett County at the age of 6 from south Florida. Since then she has lived in the Collin Hills area, Suwanee and now Duluth. Aisha is the middle of five children.
Growing up in Georgia, she graduated with honors from North Gwinnett High School and earned the HOPE Scholarship to attend the University of Georgia where she earned her Bachelors of Arts in Journalism in 2013, and a Masters of Public Administration & Policy in 2016.
While in graduate school Aisha founded the Georgia Muslim Voter Project, an organization whose mission is to increase voter turnout in the American Muslim community. In 2016 she and her team helped to increase voter turnout across Georgia in a community that has historically rarely participated in the electoral process.
Aisha is actively involved in her community. She was a co-organizer of Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women (January 2017), which saw an estimated 60,000 people peacefully march in downtown Atlanta.
She earned a 40 Under 40 Georgia Muslim Award from the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta (October 2016) and the Rising Star Community Champion Award from Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta (October 2016). In 2015, Aisha earned a commendation from the Georgia General Assembly for work in the Georgia Muslim Community.
In the gubernatorial race, former lawmaker and author Stacey Abrams declared victory after beating former state representative Stacey Evans.
“We are writing the next chapter of Georgia’s future where no one is unseen, no one is unheard and no one is uninspired,” said 44-year-old Abrams at her post-election party. “We are writing a history of a Georgia where we prosper together.”
She will face a Republican candidate in the high-stakes mid-term contest in November. If elected in the deeply conservative state, Abrams would become the first woman and the first person from an ethnic minority to lead the southern state.
Both the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her major primary rival Bernie Sanders endorsed Abrams in the primary. Clinton recorded a robocall for her the day before the election, said a USA Today report.
She also reportedly raised about two-thirds of her campaign funds from outside the state. National groups chipped in another $2 million worth of ads supporting her.
Georgia has never elected a woman governor. It has elected Republican governors since 2003 and President Donald Trump won the state with just over 50 per cent of the vote.