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“Coming from South King County, where some environmental advocates say air pollution could arguably be contributing to shorter life expectancy rates, Mohamed said her office would plan to lead on environmental justice issues as well. “We need to be more intentional about how we’re going to reduce our carbon footprint,” she said.
Mohamed enters the race with endorsements from SEIU6 (janitors, security officers, airport passenger service workers) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.”
Mohamed is currently a policy advisor for the King County Executive Office of Equity and Social Justice, where her job is to provide advisory and monitoring support to the $12 billion county budget to ensure it reduces disparities and advances equity. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, Mohamed helped lead an initiative to invest $1.5 million in a new market and cooperative housing development in Tukwila and she also managed the $3 million COVID-19 Community Response Fund that went directly to community-based organizations working with frontline workers.
Mohamed spearheaded an effort that created a partnership between local health authorities, Beyoncé and her mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, to provide two days of free COVID-19 drive-thru testing this weekend in South King County. Knowles-Lawson launched the #IDIDMYPART initiative with her superstar daughter’s BeyGood foundation in April to promote and broaden testing in Black and brown communities in efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
That was made possible because of Hamdi Mohamed, King County’s immigrant and refugee policy advisor, who got in contact with #IDIDMYPart because she had been “hearing from community members and local community health boards about the unequal access to and the stigmas of COVID-19 testing.”Racial bias in the medical field has contributed to many Black people distrusting our healthcare system, Mohamed explained to The Stranger.
Nearly every merchant contacted in this story worked with Hamdi Mohamed as a translator. Mohamed is a community advocate and staffer for U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). Mohamed said the city never sent an interpreter to the center to speak with tenants in Somali… Mohamed said local governments often don’t get ahead of displacement and end up displacing communities while redeveloping areas. “It is intentionally displacing them, and this is something we’ve seen a lot of places in the country,” she said. “We need to be more thoughtful of what that process really looks like.”
Hamdi Mohamed, broke down at the podium while talking about her visit to the detention facility. “We heard stories of mothers denied the opportunity to kiss or even say goodbye to their children,” she said, before apologizing for her tears. “Stay strong!” someone in the crowd shouted. Mohamed said she heard stories about “frigid temperatures, thin blankets, being forced into cages.”
Hamdi Mohamed will be among the professional mentors present on July 15. She says her career started during her junior year of college at the University of Washington with an internship at OneAmerica, and she has stayed involved in social justice-oriented politics ever since. “As a black Muslim woman, I felt this obligation … to help my proud Muslim American community feel safe and respected, to make them feel like they had a place at the decision-making table,” she says—not something they often feel. And she definitely wants more Muslim faces and voices in media and in politics. “There aren’t a lot of people out there today that look like me, that are doing that type of work. We’re a minority in this space.”
When she was 10 years old, Hamdi Mohamed watched her mother strap on a backpack and head to school for the first time to learn English. Even on school nights, they would stay up until midnight studying hundreds of civics questions for her mother’s U.S. citizenship test. Her mother would constantly remind Mohamed that when she turned 18, she too would be able to vote. Her mother’s passionate civic engagement has stuck with Mohamed, a Somalian refugee who immigrated to the United States when she was 3 years old.
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