Rana Abdelhamid, New York, U.S. House

Community organizer Rana Abdelhamid is challenging Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D) for her seat representing Queens, north Brooklyn, and part of Manhattan’s East Side.

Abdelhamid, the child of Egyptian immigrants, had an interesting path to politics. After being assaulted on the street as a teenager while wearing hijab, Abdelhamid founded a women’s self-defense group, which later grew into an international organization. Abdelhamid’s campaign is backed by Justice Democrats, and she’s a member of her local Democratic Socialists of America chapter, though the DSA has not endorsed her candidacy.

For Abdelhamid, running to unseat Maloney is also personal. “I was nine years old when I watched my Congresswoman wear a burqa in Congress to justify the invasion of Afghanistan. For the rest of my life, I knew that as a Muslim woman my identity would be weaponized to justify American wars,” Abdelhamid tweeted, recalling Maloney’s decision to wear a burqa on the House floor in 2001.

Abdelhamid’s focus on housing justice stems from her experience with gentrification in her native Queens. “My vision for this campaign is rooted in economic justice, racial justice, gender justice, and a vision of what could be for our communities,” Abdelhamid told Mic in an interview.