Check out TMO’s Aftab Borka’s exclusive interview with Rashida Tlaib and the highlights below:
What does it mean to you personally now that you know you will be in Congress?
“Personally, it hasn’t sunken in for me. I think people around me that know me the best, that have known me forever still are like ‘You are gonna be a Congresswoman.’ and I’m like yeah, still not that I dismiss, I am so humbled and inspired by my district that is majority non-Muslim majority non-Arab, this is where I grew up and always felt like I didn’t have to hide who I am and I didn’t throughout this campaign so when I won it’s such a powerful message for the world for this country during a time that has been pretty dark for us pretty painful to watch our neighbors from all backgrounds get attacked…”
What would you tell people from all different backgrounds looking at you as the first Muslim woman in Congress?
“Just that you know, this is a possibility, they should see hope. During a Trump era in our country, they don’t have to live here to feel the pain of having the most powerful leader in the world, Donald Trump, who says- who dehumanizes Muslims, who dehumanizes Arabs, dehumanizes women- that someone like me can run for office in a predominately White-African American district and win and walk the halls of Congress even though he’s trying to ban us and from coming into the United States.
People have power. This people-driven campaign won against hate, won against this big movement of White Supremacy that we have in the United States and their heads should be lifted up higher knowing that we do have the power to change the world and the change the outcome of the direction we are going. We do not have to be coming from wealthy families or wait for someone else to do it, we can do it ourselves.”
What is your number one focus inCongress?
“I could tell you as soon as I get there I want to work on my Justice for All proposal. It’s a Justice for All Civil Rights Act.”
Regarding Donald Trump- and asking him if he read the Constitution and the energy you had when he came to Detroit when you join Congress will that energy still remain working with the White House?
“You’ll see a lot of moral courage that you saw in that young girl standing up a few years ago. He was a candidate at the time and a lot of people don’t realize it wasn’t just me it was 12 other women… It was a coalition of incredible women from all across Michigan who wanted to be heard and wanted to push back against the ugliness he was bringing forward especially against women.”
What advice would you tell the younger generation of girls
“I just want them to know you don’t have to change who you are. You can be exactly who you are and run and lead movements and organize your communities, even if they don’t look like you, have the same faith or ethnicity, know that if you do it from a place of love it is going to change the world, even if it’s the small world you live in. Be you and you will have so much fun and be empowered.”