Glasgow Celebrates Arab American Heritage Month by Spotlighting Rashida Tlaib


This month, we are celebrating the rich culture of Arab Americans and paying tribute to their incredible achievements and contributions. Because of that, we are honoring Rashida Tlaib, one of the first Muslim Congresswomen.

Rashida Harbi Elabed was born on July 24, 1976 in Detroit, Michigan to working-class immigrants from Palestine. She is the eldest of 14 children. In 1998, Representative Tlaib received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Wayne State University and a Juris Doctor (Doctor of Law) degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2004.

Representative Tlaib marked the beginning of her political career in 2004 when she was an intern with former Michigan House Representative Steve Tobocman and became a member of his staff in 2007. Due to term limits, Representative Tobocman encouraged Tlaib to run for his seat. She ran, and came out victorious after the primary and went on to win the general election with more than 90% of the vote; meaning that in 2008, Representative Tlaib was the second Muslim woman to be elected to the Michigan State House of Representatives.

She served three terms as a state legislator. Among her accomplishments as a representative was fighting against pollution affecting the voters in her district. In 2014, Tlaib unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Michigan Senate. After leaving the state legislature, Tlaib worked for the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, handling matters such as anti-bigotry measures and opposing the reduction in wealthy people and businesses’ taxes.

In 2018, Representative Tlaib announced she was going to run for the 13th congressional district of Michigan, where she won a primary race by a whopping 900 votes and became the Democratic nominee. Tlaib ran unopposed in the 2018 general election and her win made her the first Palestinian-American elected to Congress.

Tlaib supports Medicare for All, abortion rights, debt-free college, the abolition of the Immigration Customs Enforcement agency and policing.

Rashida Tlaib is important to our Glasgow community because she strives to create a better life for everyone, even if it means breaking barriers to find a solution. She has exhibited determination to achieve her priorities of economic and environmental justice, and her perseverance inspires and moves many of Glasgow’s students.