By Nargis Hakim Rahman
Anam Miah, Hamtramck City Council candidate, imagines the city of Hamtramck, Mich. as a place for leaders and community members to work together toward common goals by unifying through diversity and neighborly relations.
Miah, 35, said this is the right time for him to join in the leadership to help bring about a discussion between leaders and residents. â€œThis community deserves to know whatâ€™s going on behind the doors in city hall.â€
Miah received 345 votes in the August Primaries, making it to the top six. He ran in 2009, at a time when he had four union contracts as the President of the local USW 690 for steel workers (he was elected in April 2006), which took away time from door-to-door campaigning.
He has been employed at Flexible Products in Auburn Hills, Mich. for 15 years.
As a 25-year resident of Hamtramck, Miah remembers growing up in a time when people were proud home owners, and they took care of their neighborhoods. He said things have changed since, â€œEthnic groups stick with their own.â€
â€œThatâ€™s not how a community works,â€ Miah said. â€œWe need to all put our two cents in. I need to look at where Iâ€™m from and where youâ€™re from to get a better sense of unity.â€ Miah was born in Bangladesh and moved to the United States with his family to pursue a better life.
One of the issues Miah hopes to tackle if elected is work to train Hamtramck police officers to better deal with the diverse community made up of predominant populations of Polish, Bangladeshi, Yemeni and Bosnian Americans.
He said police are hard-wired to â€œfollow the bookâ€ rather than explain offenses in a dignified manner to citizens who may â€œnot fully understand the rules.â€ Another way to deal with this problem is by hiring people within the diverse communities to fill (when applicable) vacant spots in City Hall and the police and fire departments, he said.
Residents are left in the dark on how their tax money is used, he said. For example, Miah said leaders can help people find out about federally funded programs for low-income families such as the Michigan Weatherization Program, which helps people in the city without hurting the budget. â€œVast amount of people are working class… more than well qualified donâ€™t know or never have heard about these programs.â€
Miah was inspired to change his life after a trip to Memphis, Tenn., with USW, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The experience made him reflect and realize he could make a difference, â€œInstead of living my life working and paying bills.â€
This one man changed world history for minorities and people, he said. â€œIf he can do it and he has done it I can try.â€
Miah has been serving on the Hamtramck Zoning Board of Appeals since 2006.
He hopes to pursue an Associateâ€™s Degree in criminal justice or political science at Oakland Community College.
The father of two works from his home office with an average of 35 volunteers.