Goodbye for now
To the incredible members of the Michigan Resistance,
This is a long message. If you don't have time to read all of it: here are the main takeaways. I am taking a leave of absence from the Michigan Resistance to run for U.S. Congress in the 12th district of Michigan (which includes Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Dearborn, and Downriver). The Michigan Resistance has been one of my most cherished experiences, and I am so thankful for all of you who have fought tirelessly these past few years for our state. While I'm gone, the talented Margaret Schankler, Terryl Sperlich and Ginger Kinney will comprise our leadership team.
Below is my full message. It has been an honor to work with all of you.
Wow. We have been fighting for almost three years since we got started. Can you believe it? Since the 2016 election, time has behaved so strangely. On one hand, these three years have flown by. On another hand, it kind of feels like we've been fighting for an eternity, doesn't it?
I want to rewind for a second back to that fateful month: November 2016. Some of you might remember that I was an organizer for the Hillary campaign here in Ann Arbor, and I distinctly remember the night of the election. We had sent out thousands of volunteers to win this thing for Hillary, and I was knocking doors until 10 minutes before the polls closed. When I got back to the campaign office, I threw open the door triumphantly and greeted my fellow organizers. "Guys, we killed it!". They looked back somberly. "It's not looking good dude."
The 2016 election was mortifying, but I believe one beautiful thing came out of it: The Michigan Resistance. Since we got started, our group has made tens of thousands of calls and has stopped countless pieces of bad legislation. We helped swing various districts from red to blue across Michigan in the 2018 election. We have held hundreds of calling parties throughout the state and we've built a reputation as one of the most effective volunteer-run activist groups in Michigan, and we did all of this without every asking you for donations.
Although we are all used to the Michigan Resistance now, it seemed like a very unlikely idea when we got started. We had heard about a group that had a calling party once a month in Wisconsin and everyone thought that that was a big undertaking. How were we going to have multiple calling parties every week for years to come?
We organized, and more importantly, we believed. And look at what we've accomplished.
Today, I am embarking on another unlikely journey. I am running for Congress. You are on my campaign's website, so feel free to explore.
Why am I, as a 27 year old Muslim American medical student, running for congress? Because we have all these really big problems going on-- things like climate change, the cost of healthcare, money in politics, the cost of college tuition -- but I don't believe that the political elite is doing anything about it.
They keep telling us we can’t do what it’ll take to solve these problems. Instead, they only suggest small solutions that aren’t going to make any difference in anybody’s life. They tell us that we need to be patient, and change takes time, but it really doesn’t seem like they’re fighting with the urgency we need to address these massive issues. At this point I’m done waiting on them to act. At this point, I do not believe that resisting is enough-- we must put forth ambitious proposals that will solve these big problems for good. That’s why I’m running.
However, while I'm running, I will be taking a leave of absence from the Michigan Resistance. Since day one, The Michigan Resistance's policy has been to advocate only for issues that Democrats are united on. We have never taken a position that pits Democrat against Democrat. That includes backing any candidate in a primary. So while I am campaigning for the 2020 Democratic primary, I will be taking a step back from the Michigan Resistance.
But I could not be leaving you in better hands. While I've been in Medical school, the Michigan Resistance has flourished because of our unbelievably talented leadership team. Margaret Schankler, Terryl Sperlich and Ginger Kinney have been incredible leaders and have managed the logistics, recruitment, and staffing of all of our parties. They will be taking over while I'm gone, and I could not be more confident that they will guide the Michigan Resistance in the right direction.
Well this letter is already long enough, but there is one more thing I must discuss. As cliched as it is, the Michigan Resistance would be absolutely nothing without people like you. It's the people like you who keep reading the emails, who keep making the calls, who keep coming out to the calling parties-- it's people like you who give me hope. No change comes from the top down; it always rises up from the people. Sometimes we may feel small, and we may feel like we can't change things. We may not win every fight, that is for sure. But don't ever let anyone tell you that a small group of people can't make a difference. Look at what we've accomplished together through the Michigan Resistance. We are much more powerful than we think.
Anyway, you guys are awesome, and it has been my absolute honor to work with all of you. Thank you for letting me pop into your inbox all these years :)
Goodbye for now,