Unpacking Quotes from the Youngest Muslim Elected Official Bushra Amiwala

I opened my Zoom to the 2020 Young Women Run by IGNITE, and Bushra Amiwala grazed my screen. By now, everyone has seen her name plastered on an article, news report, or social media feed. Just as a reminder, Bushra Amiwala is the youngest ever elected official Muslim woman in the United States. She ran her first official race at 19 years old as a college freshman and challenged her ideas by working for a political organization with opposing views from hers. While writing notes from the event, I decided that this information needs to be shared because after the conference, I was inspired and ready to achieve my goals.

  1. 1. “There is no such thing as the right time.”

    Woman sitting on bed with laptop and books

    I always convince myself to procrastinate, and when I heard this statement, I was forced to face the truth: I am my biggest obstacle. I’ve justified putting my dreams on hold for years because “the time wasn’t right,” but there will never be a right time; I’m just pushing back my dreams because I am scared to leap. Amiwala gave me the pep talk I needed just by saying this.

  2. 2. "Please don't wait for the right time - we make the right time for ourselves!”

    Just like I said above, waiting for this imaginary perfect scenario is impossible. By saying that the time isn’t right, we let go of all our power over our lives. You can decide to complete that project or check that task off your bucket list whenever you want. It might take time or planning, but it’s worth it.

  3. 3. “The best way to make long-term practical change is through public policy.”

    Michelle Obama and Barack Obama at the 2021 Inauguration

    As a political science major, I truly believe in government power and the extent to which public policy can influence every aspect of life. It’s almost fascinating how much change can happen at the government level. Bushra Amiwala told us about her experience working with non-profits and how they could only go so far; meanwhile, public policy could make real change. Government has power, and change often comes from the most powerful, so using it for positive societal transformation that benefits communities are essential for creating evolution.

  4. 4. “The secret sauce to running at a young age is networking.”

    friends at a coffee shop

    Democracy can be defined as governed by the people, so obviously, the more people you know, the more likely you will be nominated. Amiwala has done fantastic work in her communities that makes her easily recognizable. I find that the most recognized individuals interact and network with every member of their community. 

  5. 5. “I was not going to sit there and be told to wait my turn, and neither should you.” 

    people holding signs at a protest for women's rights

    This quote pertains to anyone who has been shot down, which happens to everyone. At some point, when you open up to someone and express your aspirations, you will be shot down or discouraged, and it’s the worst. However, channeling that energy towards your goal and using it to make what you want to happen is impressive. So the next time someone tells you that you can’t, use that as motivation to sit where you want and take your turn.

Overall, I hope these wise words from Bushra Amiwala inspire you to do what you have been waiting to do.