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Indian American Nabeela Syed is Running to be First South Asian in the Illinois State Legislature

Indian American Nabeela Syed is Running to be First South Asian in the Illinois State Legislature

  • A community organizer and digital strategy, the UC Berkeley grad has worked to advance progressive causes at both a local and national levels.

Indian American Nabeela Syed, a Democratic candidate for the 51st District in the Illinois state House, is vying to be the first South Asian in the State Legislature. As a Palatine native, Syed promises to be an advocate for issues most important to her constituents, including healthcare, education, taxes, and equal rights. On her website, Syed says she’s running “to build a better Illinois for residents today and tomorrow — an Illinois with a strong economy, sustainable infrastructure, and affordable healthcare and higher education.” The 51st District includes parts of Palatine, Inverness, Lake Zurich, Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer, and Long Grove.

Currently, Syed works for a nonprofit in digital strategy supporting a variety of their civic engagement efforts including voter mobilization, ending sexual assault on college campuses, and promoting gender equity, according to her website. Most recently, she served as the Campaign Manager for current Township High School District 211 School Board Member Tim Mc Gowan. 

She has been an active voice for her community, especially those who are underserved and underrepresented in government institutions and has worked to advance progressive causes on both a local and national scale. 

Syed was recently endorsed by State Reps Mark Walker and Theresa Mah, who said Syed “has a track record of mobilizing voters, especially young voters and voters of color, which will be critical for our party in 2022.”

Last November, two weeks after she announced her candidacy, Syed’s campaign raised over $25,000 from over 150 supporters. This Jan. 18, she took to Twitter, to note that her campaign has “shattered” its first fundraising goal.

In her Jan. 18 tweet, Syed thanked “every single person” who believes in her campaign and her vision for a better IL-51. “You are the reason we made it this far and you will be the reason we continue to be successful,” she wrote. 

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In another tweet, she urged her supporters to “keep the momentum” and donate to her campaign. “This is only the beginning. We need your support to help us be successful in our primary election and beyond. If you can, please keep the momentum going by chipping in now.”

Syed has worked with a variety of progressive organizations, including EMILY’s List, to raise money to elect Democrats to Congress. She has been a mentor for youth as a high school debate coach. She is also active in her religious community at the Islamic Society of Northwest Suburbs and is a strong advocate for promoting interfaith dialogue and empowering young Muslim women to lead.

Syed graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Political Science and Business Administration, where she served as the president of a pro-bono consulting organization assisting local businesses and nonprofits.

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