Immigrant, Mother, Teacher
I never thought I would lead and represent thousands of people one day by running for elected office. However, the intersectionality of all my life experiences with the present day circumstances now has me believing that I can’t do anything BUT this.
I’m an immigrant (more than once over), a public school teacher, mother, mentor and community advocate.
I was born in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. About seven years after I was born, it was the cusp of the Gulf War, and my family decided to immigrate to Saskatchewan, Canada, hoping to find a safe haven away from the war.
I started wearing the hijab in Canada- it felt like a natural part of my identity. Since my dad struggled to find work in Canada, we immigrated to the United States when my dad found work there. In high school, I was a track star, winning state-wide honors in cross-country and track & field. I also was voted “Class Scientist” for our graduating senior class.
I opted to go to a public liberal arts school that gave me a full scholarship. I subsequently went to medical school, but came to terms that my heart wasn’t completely in it. However, I am still paying off loans from medical school, and it was here I realized the exorbitant cost of education after high school.
At a crossroads in my life about a career, I started tutoring, working many hours. This job gave me the opportunity to drive through many different neighborhoods. It was not hard to see that some neighborhoods and communities were simply valued more than others. While most families that could afford a tutor were middle class to upper class, I occasionally tutored families who were lower income. In these students, I found a different sort of resilience and perseverance, an appreciation of our time together, that came from knowing that resources were not always available. I knew I enjoyed working with this group of kids.
My husband and I live in Carson, and adopted a beautiful baby boy from Morocco. Our son is on the autism spectrum, and I have been his fierce advocate in the public education system, which has led me to want to advocate for all students with special needs.
After serving as a cross country coach for a year where both my teams were league champions, I realized that I loved working with groups of students. I decided to go back to school to get my teaching credential. When looking for a teaching job, I knew I wanted to work in an area that had historically struggled in public education. I wanted to understand a community like this and understand the stories first-hand, for myself. I decided to teach at a public high school in Watts, where I ended up spending more time at than at home for the next a few years.
Join me in the fight for equity
My experience in Watts made me a better person. It is where I felt whole and truly grew to understand myself and the world. I served as Science Department Chair and in other leadership roles for 3 years, as well as taught Science courses. I realized that I had the pleasure of working with the smartest kids in the world each and every day who would and could do anything as long as they had an adult that cared and that they trust and as long as they were provided resources. I bought the first FIRST Robotics team to the community of Watts- Team 6904: the TeraWatts. Our award-winning team has garnered media attention in showing the power within the community of Watts. We are a force to be reckoned with.
I saw however that the world they lived in didn’t give them an equitable chance at always reaching their dreams.
College education was unbearable. My undocumented students and families lived in a state of fear and anxiety. I taught students who were in foster care, and some who were homeless. Our school did not have as much access to wealth as other schools. Housing costs were too expensive, causing students to move out. The air is not healthy to breathe, and the water is not clean enough to drink. The football field had traces of toxic chemicals. This was just a few of the problems. It was easy to see that my low-income, first generation Black and brown students were going through this while their more privileged counterparts in other communities had it much different.
Each day in the classroom and on my Robotics team, I sought to build a group of advocates, critical thinkers, leaders and debaters. I taught my students to question everything, and to always be proud of who they are and where they come from. I also got involved in environmental activism in the community; in this, I sensed the distrust and disconnect between government at all levels and the community and rightly so, as many felt let down for far too many years.
I also worked as commissioner for some time for my opponent, Mike Gipson, and noticed that when I challenged the status quo and the way he voted, my voice wasn’t welcome. In this capacity, I saw that the voices of community activists were not truly heard or accounted for, in a way that could lead to real, systemic change.
The experiences I have had in this district have made me realize that systemic racism is all too real, and won’t give way unless we call it out for what it is. It is time to hold politicians accountable when they serve the interests of oil and tobacco corporations over people. It is time that we DEMAND a public education system where teachers are highly valued and funding is ample, public college that is tuition-free, and clean air, clean water, clean food and affordable housing as human rights for all.
In each of my life experiences, there was one common thread. I was always deeply connected to what was going on around me. I was and am always bold, and unafraid to ask the right questions, even when it wasn’t popular. And I am completely honest about who I am, what I stand for and the things I really care about.
With too many dishonest and power-hungry political leaders today, I know I can provide a stark contrast. I’m running a campaign only for and by the people of this district that I live and work in. I am in this fight WITH you and FOR you. Let’s take our movement to Sacramento. Together, let us work to disrupt the chains of systemic racism.
Help me fight!
We are running a grassroots campaign. We are not taking any corporate PAC money. As a candidate, I only want to be beholden to one group- the people of my district.
This is why I need your help. There are many forces that don't want to see racism end and they will spend every dime they have to keep me from winning this race. Any amount of donation will help us fund a campaign that will win and fight FOR YOU!
Paid for by Fatima Iqbal-Zubair for Assembly 2020 FPPC ID# 1420710
5429 Madison Avenue Sacramento, CA 95841