How Kashif Hussain Started a Political ‘Momentum’

Kashif Hussain (Photo by Zainab Iqbal via Bklyner)

Amid the media attention on the statewide primary races last week, many Pakistanis on Coney Island Avenue between Avenue H and Newkirk Avenue, which falls in the 44th Assembly District (Ditmas Park, Kensington, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace), had their eye on a local race – that of the Democratic district leader because, writes Zainab Iqbal, “a Pakistani Muslim man was running.”

Her story in Bklyner is not about Kashif Hussain losing the race but rather about what his campaign meant to her family and the Pakistani community as a whole.

Hussain did something I didn’t think could happen. He got the Pakistani community to become engaged in the political world. These people, many of whom have been living in the neighborhood for a long, long time, had never seen a brown person run for office before. Here was a person who loved the community, who attended the local mosques, who interacted with the people through his work, and who wanted to improve the neighborhood. Hussain mirrored them. There was finally someone they could relate to; someone who they felt actually cared about their needs. Hussain started a momentum, and it’s only upward from here. District Leader is an unpaid position that probably doesn’t mean much to a lot of people. It was a position the people of the community never heard about until Hussain. They wanted him to win.

Go to Bklyner to read what she witnessed during Hussain’s campaign and the day of the primary – from her father’s enthusiastic outreach to the sight that caused Iqbal to write: “Amazed is an understatement of what I was feeling.”

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