Minorities in Politics- Interview With Adeel Ahmed



Adeel Ahmed with Senator Bernie Sanders. Courtesy of Adeel Ahmed


Adeel Ahmed is a current senior at Rutgers University with a focus on politics and law. Adeel is a visionary and an activist on campus with goals of one day igniting his own revolution to change the current political system. He agreed to be interviewed by Her Campus Rutgers regarding his views about minorities in politics, among other things. 

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience interning in D.C during the Summer of 2018? (What did you do?)

Interning in Washington D.C. was one of the best experiences of my life. I interned for Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. at Capitol Hill, who ultimately represents me as well as Rutgers University-New Brunswick on a federal level. As an intern, I performed many tasks in the fast-paced work environment of U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill as an intern including note taking at briefings, writing up memorandums for staff use, taking phone calls from constituents, conducting data entry for the legislative office, writing letters to concerns made by constituents, etc. But the ultimate highlight of all this was simply the environment that I was working with. Very few people can say that they casually walked past Senator Bernie Sanders (who I met twice while interning) today and then walked past Senator Elizabeth Warren the next day (who I also met twice while interning). There were many networking events where I not only grew my professional contacts but also made friends from different aspects of the world. That’s the beauty in working at the center of the entire nation, seeing the many different sides that the nation has to make it the great nation that it is.

2. Based on your experience in D.C and being an involved member of various political organizations at Rutgers (R.U Progressive, RUSA), how involved are minorities in politics? (How can we increase involvement for minorities?)

By being involved locally within politics and also based on my experience in D.C, I can say that the political involvement by minorities is still poor but on the brighter side, it is significantly better than it used to be. When I went to an Asian American networking event, one of the primary speakers former Secretary of Transportation and former Secretary of Commerce Norman Mineta said that when he was in Washington the room was barely five percent filled, now nearly the entire room is packed with Asian Americans aspiring to flourish in politics. This is definitely a sign of progress and can continue to prosper in my opinion by continuing to educate minorities in not only why politics matter for them on a personal level but also the amount of power they all have when they stand together, at least that is what clicked for me. When I came to college I didn’t care about politics but then I saw my term bill- something that undoubtedly affected me personally and then I saw Bernie’s free public tuition plan and that was the start of my political involvement- with his presidential campaign. And by seeing the power that I and rest of the working Americans have together if we stand united and continue to build power we can undoubtedly thrive in politics.

3. Why is it important for college students, but specifically minorities, to vote?

Mainly because for a long time America has been determined for the same voting demographic- essentially middle-aged and older non-minority Americans which although all the civic power to them, this doesn’t bring input of other people and ultimately doesn’t even represent most Americans. The youth is far more optimistic than the current voting populous and minorities as a whole are the symbol for the American Dream, as they all arrived from a historical background that was undermined and had to give a lot for the freedom that they fought for, it needs to be ensured that they are represented too. Liberty cannot prosper without equality, so we as minorities need to fight for it in civic engagement.

4. Who has been your greatest role model/inspiration in politics? Why?

Undoubtedly, Senator Bernie Sanders, he changed my entire life. As I mentioned earlier about my political apathy until I got engaged with his campaign, I should also mention that I was pre-medicine and it was after I got involved in politics that I decided to change my focus to politics and law. Other than all this, Bernie is someone that I can relate with a lot on a personal level. He grew up in poverty as a first generation American and started off as no one, but becoming educated and working hard throughout his entire life it took him to be in his forties to finally get elected, but he finally did so in the end and in the clean and ethical way- a campaign that was based on ethics and valuing people over politics. Despite being one of the longest serving people in Congress, Bernie has been overwhelmingly consistent in his political record and has never let corruption get to him, and for me, that is an inspiration to be the same kind of politician.

5. What is your spirit animal?

An eagle for many different reasons. Whereas eagles resemble liberty they also resemble wisdom- the most important factor for me within politics and life in general. It is also known for eagles to be the one bird that doesn’t flee to find shelter during a storm, instead, it flies above the storm. This is something that I stand by, in the most difficult and challenging of times instead of taking the easy way out or quitting I embrace the hardship I go through and as I overcome it I become a stronger person.



All opinions are Adeel's own personal opinions and not affiliated with any organization or affiliation (including Her Campus Rutgers).