Nabeela Syed is 23-years-old and member-elect of the Illinois state general. When sworn in, Syed will be its youngest member yet.
“My name is Nabeela Syed. I’m a 23-year-old Muslim, Indian-American woman,” she announced in a tweet on Wednesday.
“We just flipped a Republican-held suburban district.”
She added: “And in January, I’ll be the youngest member of the Illinois General Assembly.”
And as it invariably happens with these path-breakers, she has notched a few more firsts along the way: first Indian-American elected to the Illinois state House — man or woman of any faith — and along with Palestinian-American Abdel Nasser Rashid, the first Muslim elected to the state legislature.
Syed wears a hijab, and some publications noted it.
Kesha Ram, who is now serving in the Vermont state Senate, probably holds the record for being the youngest Indian-American ever elected to a state legislature. She was only 21 when she was elected to the state’s legislative body. She ran unsuccessfully for Lt. Governor in 2016. She belongs to the family of Sir Ganga Ram, the builder of modern Lahore who has a Delhi hospital named after him.
Syed was born in Illinois, but not much else could be ascertained about her family, other than that her parents, or one of them at least came from India.
Syed’s campaign website says she 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 organisation assisting local businesses and non-profits.
“It doesn’t seem real, but I am a state representative-elect now and I will be the youngest member of the General Assembly,” she told ABC News.
The 2022 midterm will go down in history as responsible for giving the US the first Generation Z member of the US Congress — Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a 25-year-old Democrat elected to the House of Representatives from Florida. President Joe Biden joined the national celebration of his election by congratulating him in a phone call.
Syed frames her election as part of this effort by youngsters to claim their place in politics, rather than wait for their turn, euphemism for waiting for someone to retire.
“It is so important for us to have a seat at the table, for us to have a voice in the legislative process,” Syed went on to say in the ABC interview.
“People say wait your turn or there is no space for you. We made space,” she added.