Meet Junaid

Junaid is a father, husband, community activist, and a longtime Illinoisan running to represent Illinois’ 8th District in Congress. He’s running to transform our country so it actually works for everyday people, not corporations or special interests.

My story is the story of millions.

When I was young, my parents immigrated to the United States with hope for a better life. We lived in Chicago, Illinois and life wasn’t easy. My father worked hard — often juggling two full-time shifts — to establish himself in America. My mother worked tirelessly to make sure me and my siblings were taken care of.

They sacrificed so we could have a chance to live the American Dream.

My wonderful family.

I looked up to my parents’ work ethic, so I began working when I was a teenager while studying at a local community college. Then, I attended DePaul University and finished my MBA at the University of Chicago. After working in my professional career, I was able to start my own small business in 2007 right here in Illinois.

As I built my life, I saw it become harder and harder for families to actually reach the same American Dream that my parents fought so hard for. And even when families do reach it, it’s even harder to hold on to.

After college, my wife Shirin had tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. Shirin’s loan service provider engaged in predatory practices, placing her loans on an interest-only repayment plan without telling her. That almost doubled the total amount of the loan. It took us decades to pay it off.

Recently, my son was admitted to the hospital with dangerously low blood cell counts. Even though he was fully insured, the insurance company still billed us tens of thousands of dollars for the treatment.

My family isn’t alone. As corporations and Wall Street funnel more and more money to politicians in Congress, it’s becoming harder for us to live with a sense of security and stability. And this broken foundation doesn’t provide equal footing. It never has. Deep systemic racism and bigotry in our country has kept the American Dream away from Black, brown, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized folks almost entirely.

We’re at a point now where our children don’t even see the American Dream as an option. Instead, they bear the responsibility of stopping crisis after crisis barreling toward them. Most working families are a medical emergency away from bankruptcy. The climate crisis is ravaging cities across the globe. This isn’t life — it’s survival.

So I began fighting.

In the past decade, I’ve organized rallies, protests, and lobbied elected officials to support Medicare for All. I’ve protested at ICE detention centers in Illinois, helping to spur the Illinois General Assembly to shut down all immigrant detention centers in the state and severely restrict how local law enforcement can collaborate with ICE agents.

Now I’m running for Congress to put power back in our hands and end corporate influence in Washington.

Illinois’ Eighth District deserves someone with the courage to demand more for Illinoian families. We need someone with the bravery to stand up to corporations and fight corrupt special interests, not bend to their will. And we need someone who will keep the American Dream alive for all of us, not sell our future to the highest bidder.

I believe that public service extends far beyond the halls of government. Since I was a teenager, I’ve served in volunteer and relief work. Now, as a father of four, I’m more active than ever. I mentor underprivileged children, provide aid after national disasters, volunteer weekly at food pantries, and distribute food to the homeless. I also serve on the board of the Muslim Philanthropy Institute of Lily School of Philanthropy, Indiana University and as the chairman of the Boy Scouts Troop 99.

I hope you join me in this fight to change the future of Illinois and our country so it works for all of us.

– Junaid

Junaid is running to bring the people’s voice to Congress.

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