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Crosscurrents

Aisha Wahab: the millennial councilwoman making waves in Hayward

Hayward_City_Hall_number_3_front.jpg
Mercurywoodrose
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Wikimedia Commons, used under CC BY-SA 3.0
The front facade of the current Hayward California City Hall building.

Hayward has a new council member. She’s a millennial, a renter, and Afghan American. Aisha Wahab is a 31 year old IT consultant.

Her late parents fled war in Afghanistan, and last November, Wahab was one of two to share the title for first Afghan American woman elected to office in the country.

"Once you're elected every single person will tell you you're no longer allowed to be an organizer or activist ... That's really not where I'm at otherwise I wouldn't have brought up half of the topics that I brought up in the first couple weeks being in office."

During her campaign, she faced racism, Islamophobia, and people expressing doubt because of her age.  She’s been compared to other young progressive women of color like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Wahab ran on a platform that centered housing, living wage, and jobs in a city where the median age is 34 and the median household income is 65 thousand dollars.

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.