A young Indian American woman has flipped the Republican-held 51st district in Illinois’ General Assembly.
According to ABC 7, 23-year-old Nabeela Syed will be the first Indian American woman elected to serve in the Illinois General Assembly. She and Abdelnasser Rashid are the first Muslims elected to the Illinois General Assembly.
Syed was raised by two immigrant parents in Palatine, Illinois. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley with a double major in political science and business, the Mint reports.
Former President Donald Trump was elected when Syed was a senior in high school.
“The day Trump got elected, I remember I cried in every single one of my classes,” she told NBC News. “I felt like this country was not for us. I was like, ‘I don’t know if I belong here.’ This is the only home I’ve ever known, and I was questioning whether or not I belonged here.”
Syed took the November 2022 elections as an opportunity to help create change. She defeated Republican incumbent Chris Bos and flipped the district from red to blue. Now, she’ll work to create a more inclusive community.
“It’s important for me — growing up in this community and knowing what it feels like to not belong — to make sure everyone feels like they do belong,” she told NBC News. “It’s a big moment for my family personally, and I hope it feels to other young people and to women of color that we can do this. We have space here.”
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