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Meet Bangladeshi American Soma Syed, Democratic Candidate for Queens County Judge

Meet Bangladeshi American Soma Syed, Democratic Candidate for Queens County Judge

  • If elected, Syed will be the first Bangladeshi American and Muslim woman to be elected as a judge in New York State.

The civil court in Queens, New York, could get its first Bangladeshi American judge. The Queens Daily Eagle, citing “the final and official counts of all primary races in the city,” released on July 20, reported that Soma Syed and Cassandra Johnson will be on the general election ballot in November. “If elected, Syed will be the first Bangladeshi and Muslim woman to be elected as a judge in New York State,” the Queens Daily Eagle said.

“More than 91,000 voters — from all parts of Queens — have demonstrated they want representation on the bench that will ensure fair and impartial justice for everyone,” Syed tweeted on July 23. “We thank the voters of Queens and ask for their continued support.”

The race between Syed and Queens Democratic Party-endorsed candidate Michael Goldman was close. Syed received 91,040 votes, while Goldman got 88,558. Unlike the mayoral and other races, this race was not a ranked-choice vote.

In a statement posted on her social media handles, Syed said: “Our ‘people-powered’, grassroots campaign against the Queens County Machine was a success. I want to send my sincerest appreciation to the voters of Queens and the groups that supported our campaign.”

“Yesterday the New York City Board of Elections certified the results of our historic primary election and our campaign was successful,” Syed’s campaign said in a statement to The Queens Daily Eagle. “Additionally, the people of Queens took a stand against anti-Muslim rhetoric and islamophobia by supporting [the] campaign.” 

A practicing attorney and currently head of the Queens County Women’s Bar Association, Syed moved to the United States from Bangladesh at age 12, as per her website. After graduating from IS 238, Jamaica High School, she attended City College, and then went to Albany Law School, after which she started her law practice.

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In an interview before the June 22 New York City primaries, Syed told Rockaway County’s local paper The Wave that part of her running for judgeship “is an extension of my legal advocacy work and community work.” The Wave reported that in Rockaway, after the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Syed “brought a group of friends to the peninsula to assist in clean-up operations.”

She told the newspaper that she “wants to change the way people view the court system as a whole.” She continued: “I strongly feel that people should not look upon the court system with fear. People should look upon the court system as a place where they can get their issues addressed, and if they have grievances they can get results that they can be proud of.”

Syed told The Wave that her practice has engaged in a wide array of cases. “I have the experience, and I am for the people and for the community,” Syed told The Wave. “What you see is what you get, and justice is best represented by transparency. When someone is connected with the community… you feel a certain obligation [to that community]… I am from the [Queens] community. I live here, I’ve worked here, I’m raising my family here… I’m here for the people, and people have the choice to pick the best — I believe that I am the best one to represent them… competency, trustworthiness, integrity, and compassion. That’s what I will bring to the court system.”

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