Ann Arbor human rights commissioner running for City Council in Ward 3

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ANN ARBOR, MI — After over two years of serving on Ann Arbor’s Human Rights Commission, Ayesha Ghazi Edwin is running for City Council.

Ghazi Edwin, a Democrat with a background in social work, has announced her campaign in Ward 3.

“I’m running for City Council because I believe that it should never be so hard for working families to thrive and be successful here,” she said in a statement, saying Ann Arbor needs leaders focused on making the city more affordable and equitable while improving basic services.

A civil rights activist, educator and nonprofit leader, she’s the first to pull petitions to seek the seat held by Julie Grand, who is stepping down in November and backing Ghazi Edwin.

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A 2003 graduate of Huron High School, Ghazi Edwin said she’s inspired by her experience growing up in a diverse and inclusive community like Ann Arbor, where she moved as a child with her Indian immigrant parents in 1988 after living in England.

“My parents were immigrants and I feel like they were really able to make it work here because it was so welcoming, and I’m a little afraid that we’re losing that now,” she said. “You know, the price of housing has just skyrocketed and I think that people like my family are less able to potentially live here.”

She added, “I’m also a social worker and I know for a fact that my colleagues, a lot of them, are not able to live here, teachers aren’t able to live here, so those are some of the reasons that I feel passionate about running.”

Ghazi Edwin has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan with a focus on social policy evaluation and she serves as deputy director of Detroit Disability Power, a statewide disability policy organization. She also is a lecturer at the UM School of Social Work, where she teaches classes on policy and community organizing and has been recognized for her efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.

She points to her experience working on health equity, labor rights, immigration reform and anti-discrimination policy. She was appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to serve as chair of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission.

“I’ve been working in social policy and community organizing my entire career, solving problems by building coalitions and bringing diverse partners together to work collaboratively,” Ghazi Edwin said. “I lead with listening and help to find solutions that don’t leave people behind.”

As an Ann Arbor human rights commissioner, she has worked on issues such as the city’s new Fair Chance Access to Housing ordinance aimed at ending housing discrimination against people with criminal backgrounds, the city’s new ban on gay conversion therapy aimed at protecting LGBTQ youth and the city’s new ban on race-based hairstyle discrimination.

The commission is now collaborating with the police oversight commission on trying to get more public safety data transparency, Ghazi Edwin said.

“My work on the human rights council has been really instrumental in why I decided to run,” she said.

In addition to Grand, Ghazi Edwin has announced endorsements from Mayor Christopher Taylor, Ward 3 Council Member Travis Radina, Washtenaw County Commissioners Andy LaBarre and Jason Morgan, Ann Arbor District Library Board Vice Chair Kerene Moore, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib and others.

“Ayesha cares deeply about our community, is a reputed leader, and would strongly advocate for the interests of Ward 3,” Moore said in a statement.

“She has dedicated her career to advocating for the most marginalized, and through her equity-focused work on HRC, she has a clear record of working to improve the lives of our residents,” Radina said in a statement calling her smart, hard-working and collaborative.

Ghazi Edwin, a homeowner in the Turnberry subdivision, said the city has done a lot around affordable housing, but it can do more. She also supports more inclusionary zoning policies.

“I love Ann Arbor,” she said. “This is where I want to stay and I want to hopefully grow old and be able to afford to retire here, and that’s what’s driven me to run.”

Ghazi Edwin has a campaign website at AyeshaForAnnArbor.com where she discusses her positions on city service, governance, parks and green spaces, equity, accessibility and inclusion, small business support, housing and affordability, public safety and climate change.

There are races for mayor and City Council in all five wards this year. Candidates have until April 19 to file to compete in the Aug. 2 primary, with winners advancing to the Nov. 8 election.

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Read More:Ann Arbor human rights commissioner running for City Council in Ward 3

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