Twenty-eight-year-old Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, the youngest in the contest to represent North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District, believes her youth is not a disadvantage, but rather one of her greatest strengths. Her generation understands the urgency of solving today’s political crises, she said.
“Every step of the road, I have been told I need to wait my turn,” Allam said. “Waiting your turn continues to lead to the issues that are impacting me and impacting people in the community, to be left unaddressed. And we can’t sit around and wait our turn. We need to step up and take action because our generation needs to be heard.”
A personal trauma drew Allam into politics. In 2015, three of her dearest friends were murdered in a hate crime in Chapel Hill. Civic-minded Muslim college students with professional aspirations, they were gunned down in their home. Yet police initially labelled the murder as a parking dispute, and while the shooter eventually was found guilty of murder, he was never charged with a hate crime. Allam, who is also Muslim, concluded that communities of color are ignored by institutions in power, and entered politics to give minorities “a seat at the table.”
Allam was a field organizer and later the North Carolina political director for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. She was also third vice-chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party for four years and was elected to the Durham County Board of Commissioners in 2020.
If elected, Allam would invest in job creation and education to address the root causes of crime, and continue Price’s legacy of expanding public transportation. Gun control legislation will languish in Congress, she said, until Congress acts to reduce the influence of big money on politics.
“First and foremost, we really need to address the corruption that exists,” she said.
Allam also would fight for a Green New Deal.
“We have less than 10 years to deal with irreversible damage of climate change, and it’s going to be our generation and our future generations that have to deal with that,” Allam said.
“And so we need that sense of urgency going to D.C. We need people with lived experiences of what the effects of gun violence and white supremacy in this country are to be leading us in D.C.”
Editor’s note: Read more about the race for North Carolina’s 4th Congressional here.
Above: Photo courtesy of Nida Allam