Young community leader of Indian and Pakistani descent works for the rights of immigrant families.
Raaheela Ahmed , a young, first generation Muslim woman of Indian and Pakistani descent, has been reelected unopposed to the Prince George’s County Board of Education, District 5, representing over 80,000 people in Maryland.
Ahmed, 26, American-born and raised daughter of an Indian father and Pakistani mother, first ran for office as an 18-year-old underdog and anti-establishment figurehead in 2012.
She lost that election by 3%, only to come back in 2016 with a grassroots victory heaved out of two door to door campaigns “to better understand the needs of the community.”
A lifelong Prince Georgian and product of public schools, Ahmed has done it again. But she is “not sure yet!” when she would take her fight “for the right thing” to the next level.
“It takes a special kind of person to sustain good, honest work in politics for the long-term,” Raaheela told the American Bazaar in a recent email interview.
“This work is exhausting – it’s a constant loop of fighting for the right thing while being under-appreciated and underpaid,” she said.
“For me, success looks like leaving a legacy of young leadership in my wake, that can take the mantle of service and run with it – straight to the White House,” she said.
Besides her job as board member, Ahmed works as Deputy Director of Campus Vote Project, where she manages the national team of state organizers that focus on institutionalizing voting on college campuses “nationally, and ensure we are moving each state to a bigger and brighter democracy.”
Ahmed, who is also a trainer with the Progressive Governance Academy said, “We work with over 250 colleges across the US to develop sustainable, long-term civic engagement plans that focus on getting students to vote.”
As a Board of Education member, she has led efforts for several budget amendments including $4.25 million for maintenance needs, more school psychologists and LGBTQ+ staff training.
To ensure that parent voices are heard, and that parents are as involved as they can be in District 5 schools, Ahmed said she ”encouraged parents to start parent-teacher-student organizations at schools.”
Every year, Ahmed holds a District 5 Parent Leader Convening, an event that brings together the PTA/PTO leaders and other parent advocates to engage in conversation about best practices for parent-teacher-student organizations.
As “a community leader and advocate in those spaces,” she said, “I’ve also introduced resolutions supporting the rights of our Muslim and immigrant families, as well as transgender individuals.”
“My goal is to leave a legacy of leadership that encourages this kind of culture for years to come,” Ahmed said.