Biography of Rashida Tlaib
Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic politician and the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, was one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018.
Who Is Rashida Tlaib?
Rashida Tlaib is a member of Congress from Michigan’s 13th district. She became the first Palestinian American woman and one of the first two Muslim women in the United States House of Representatives when she began her first term in 2019.
She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and a member of “The Squad,” which includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley, all of whom are progressive congresswomen. She worked as a legal advocate before being elected to Congress. She served three terms as a Michigan state representative from 2009 to 2014.
Early Life and Education
Rashida Harbi Elabed Tlaib was born on July 24, 1976, in Detroit, Michigan. She is the oldest of 14 children born to immigrant Palestinian parents.
Her family spoke Arabic at home, and she spent her childhood translating for them. She was the first in her family to graduate from high school and college, having attended Southwestern High School and Wayne State University.
Tlaib began working with ACCESS, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, after graduating from Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School.
Early Political Career
In 2004, Tlaib interned for a Michigan state lawmaker, and in 2007 he joined the legislator’s office. She was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2008, becoming the first Muslim woman to serve in the chamber.
Fighting pollution that affected her residents was one of her successes as a state legislator. Before encountering term limitations, she served three terms, from 2009 to 2014. In 2014, Tlaib ran for the Michigan Senate but lost.
Tlaib went up about being sexually harassed by a Michigan director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee prior to the “Me Too” campaign. In 2013, the director resigned.
Rashida Tlaib worked for the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice after her stint in the state legislature ended. She was in charge of everything from anti-bigotry efforts to opposing tax favors for the affluent and businesses.
Tlaib was booted out of a Michigan event in 2016 after she asked Donald Trump if he’d ever studied the Constitution while he was campaigning as the Republican presidential contender.
Tlaib became the Democratic nominee in Michigan’s 13th district after winning a primary by 900 votes. Parts of the city of Detroit and adjacent suburbs are included in the district, which is one of the poorest in the country and predominantly Democratic.
John Conyers Jr. has been its representative for more than five decades. In the 2018 general election, Tlaib ran unopposed and earned 88.7% of the vote. She became the first Palestinian American woman elected to Congress as a result of her victory.
Tlaib is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, which advocates for progressive goals like a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, immigration reform, and debt-free college.
Rashida Tlaib sponsored legislation to strengthen federal civil rights laws marched against police brutality and spoke out against the influence of corporate money in politics. Barbara Lee, a fellow progressive from California, is Tlaib’s mentor.
In 2019, Trump urged Tlaib and other members of “The Squad” — congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley — to “go back and help rebuild the completely broken and crime infested places from which they came” in a tweet. Tlaib retweeted his response., “Yo @realDonaldTrump, I am fighting corruption in OUR country. I do it every day when I hold your admin accountable as a U.S. Congresswoman.”
Despite the fact that Tlaib’s district has a plurality of Black residents, she won her 2020 primary against a Black opponent. In the 2020 general election, she easily defeated the Republican candidate.
Relationship With Israel
Tlaib spoke about the formation of Israel in a May 2019 interview, and some Republicans took her statements out of context and accused her of antisemitism. “Policing my words, twisting & manipulating them to fuel vicious assaults on me will not work,” Tlaib tweeted in part to defend herself.
Tlaib is a supporter of the BDS movement, which tries to pressure Israel to change its treatment of Palestinians. The Israeli government opposes this movement, and in August 2019, Tlaib’s support for BDS was used as a justification to prevent her and Representative Omar from visiting Israel.
While in Israel, Tlaib planned to see her 90-year-old grandmother, who lives in a small West Bank community. Following the cancellation of her visit, she requested for humanitarian clearance to meet her family, which was granted.
Tlaib eventually decided not to go because Israel required her not to “encourage boycotts against Israel.” “Visiting my grandmother under these horrible conditions goes against all I believe in–fighting against racism, discrimination, and injustice,” she said in a tweet.
In 1998, Rashida Tlaib married Fayez Tlaib. Before divorcing in 2015, they had two kids, Adam and Yousif.