Fighting for social justice and equality for all has always been a driving force within me. As I reflect on my childhood and upbringing, I like to think that this desire to be a force for good stems from a variety of impactful people such as my maternal grandfather who was a social worker, my father who fought for the rights of the local villagers in Bangladesh, my activist older cousins who took me to marches and protests from an early age, and my inspirational cousin, Shahreen.
I have been blessed to work for the advancement and protection of democracy, immigrant rights, human rights, religious rights, and freedoms. It has been an absolute privilege to meet, advocate, and share the stories of so many powerful individuals and this is what has brought me to the ACLU of Virginia.
Being a first-generation Bangladeshi Muslim American, I have seen the sacrifices my immigrant parents have had to make. It is good to have the ACLU serve as the guardians of civil rights and liberties not only for immigrants, but for all of us.
My cousin Shahreen, who I mentioned above, was in a horrendous car accident back in 2014 which left her quadriplegic at the age of fifteen. The amount of adversity I have seen this amazing human being go through - all while having a graceful smile and positive attitude - has truly been nothing short of inspirational. Despite the constant obstacles thrown her way, she not only graduated college but did so as valedictorian for her graduating class. Witnessing Shahreen’s ability to be a strong advocate and fighter for herself not only inspires me personally but gets me thinking of those who cannot. Everything from insurance, aides, accessibility, and accommodations can be such a battle for individuals with disabilities. It is reassuring to know that the ACLU also fights for the rights of individuals with disabilities like my cousin Shahreen.
Being a first-generation Bangladeshi Muslim American, I have seen the sacrifices my immigrant parents have had to make. It is good to have the ACLU serve as the guardians of civil rights and liberties not only for immigrants, but for all of us. Personally, being a child of immigrants, witnessing Islamophobia, having loved ones incarcerated, and having a quadriplegic family member, I know just how important it is to advocate for the rights of marginalized and disenfranchised people. Working at the ACLU has always been a dream for me, and I can honestly say that I have applied over a dozen times! Obviously, the many rejections did not get to me or lessen my love for the organization: I have always considered the ACLU as a gold standard when it comes to civil rights and civil liberties. The ACLU fights for EVERYONE’S rights! For me, it has always been about high impact and the ACLU does exactly that.
Prior to joining the ACLU-VA, I worked with Islamic Relief USA, International Rescue Committee of Maryland, Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Joel Rubin for Congress, where I honed my skills working in advocacy, community organizing, program management, and fundraising.
And now, I am genuinely honored to be the new Major Gifts Officer for the ACLU of Virginia! What I love about my role is being able to communicate with the community and get them engaged and involved with the work we are doing. It is extremely easy to get cynical or jaded by the news we read and watch, but for me what re-instills my faith in humanity is the outpouring of support behind the scenes that most folks do not see. The work that the ACLU is doing is only possible through the support of the community at large. These fights are our fights, and these victories are our victories.
Together, we can make a more perfect union!