On multiple occasions, we had hardcore right wing Trump supporters crash our event, trying to disrupt it and, uh, leave as supporters because we, we tried to create that conversation around the anger and the vitriol that, that they had. And, and, and, you know, I, I wanna be careful not to say that that's the silver bullet to solving all the issues, but I think dialogue goes a long way.
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I'm a human rights lawyer. I'm an immigrant to this country. We came in for Pakistan actually 35 years ago next month. Um, so I was a young child when we arrived here, uh, raised in, uh, Northern Illinois, uh, came out for law school some time ago. And I've been out here in Virginia since then, uh, and here for the time being, but we'll see what the future holds and, um, married to my wonderful wife of Isha almost 15 years. Uh, we have three amazing kids, uh, uh, who are, um, uh, six, eight and 13. And, um, I, I try to stay active in the human rights space. I, I, I take on immigration clients, racial justice issues, uh, of course, some corporate litigation as well. You gotta pay the bills somehow. And, um, as you can see, I'm, I'm pretty active on social media to advocate for, you know, racial justice issues. And my goal is to, is to be consequential in how we create this country and, and build a narrative of compassion of education of inclusion. I've also launched a, a pack called common purpose to, uh, raise funds for historically underrepresented candidates and get them elected into office. So doing a lot of different things at once and just trying to move the ball forward on, on justice in America.
Yeah, it sounds like you're really busy. You've got your hands in a lot of cookie jars. It, same thing over here, we're constantly doing different things. Shout your cause is really a platform to be able to bring light to issues that don't necessarily get the spotlight. Sure. But get a lot of, let's say misinformation or stereotypes or things like that that will infiltrate the conversation. And then there's a lot of pushback. And so why don't you tell me, maybe give me some information on any particular stories you you'd like to share.
I mean, there's many, and I'm, I'm fortunate that, that I've got, um, I've had the opportunity I run, I ran for Congress a couple years ago and made some great connections there. And I think one of the reasons why, um, I enjoyed that run despite the, the death threats and the, the, you know, racism and the Islamophobia. I saw an opportunity to connect with people on a different level. And, um, we didn't win the, the general election, but we won the primary. And even in the general, we got 25% more votes than any Democrat has in the history of the district. And we really did that by running on a campaign, focused on justice and inclusion. I can tell you on, on multiple occasions, we had hardcore right wing Trump supporters, crash our event, trying to disrupt it and, uh, leave as supporters because we, we try to create that conversation around the anger and the vitriol that, that they had.
And, and, and, you know, I, I wanna be careful not to say that that's the silver bullet to solving all the issues, but I think dialogue goes a long way. And, um, at the end of the day, there is a showbiz aspect to, you know, media, uh, right wing media propaganda that the Fox uses of the world that I know they're simply trying to get ratings. And, and, you know, they're kind of detached from reality, but I also know being on the front lines, knocking on doors and being able to engage with folks, uh, my conversation will always start with a, a position of assuming positive intent and finding, uh, or seeking a way to create, um, unity. And, and that doesn't mean we agree on everything, but it does mean that we find ways to agree on the humanity, uh, of each of us and on the inherent value and equality of each of us. And if we can get to that point, that rest, I think we could figure out
That's human rights attorney and activist, Qasim Rashid. He wants people to get to the heart of what is really happening. Qasim seeks unity, which feels impossible. Sometimes, obviously people aren't agreeing on much these days, but many discussions get derailed by destructive media and gas lit fires on that end. He wants us to at least agree on one another's humanity, but can we have those talks? I think we can, if we first try to listen.
So what do you think people's fears are when it comes to, you know, having someone bring up issues and conversations that are uncomfortable, what's going on with that?
Well, I, I mean, I, I think anytime you're bringing up something that makes people uncomfortable, we have to figure out what about it is making them uncomfortable. And, and why is discomfort necessarily tied to something bad? Um, we've all tried to eat healthier and get in better shape, uh, that puts you in a position of discomfort, but you do it because you see the value it brings right with lower blood pressure and better cholesterol and, and all that good stuff. Uh, we've all tried to learn a new skill and there's a frustration of failing and falling off your bike and that's not comfortable, but we do it because we know that the payoff is, is worth it. And so on issues of, of race or gender or immigration, if, if it's making people feel uncomfortable, there's something deeper there that's driving that discomfort. And so for me, it's really trying to understand what is driving that discomfort.
And, um, and is it, uh, is it something that is actually relevant to the conversation at hand? I, I just had somebody send me a message yesterday and I put up a video on TikTok about it, where, uh, they said, you know, you keep talking about race and that's why there's racism. Um, I don't see color and we need to stop talking about race and racism will go away. And so I, I responded to that by pointing out that, um, first of all, um, pretending that racism will go away by ignoring it is that pretending cancer will go away by ignoring it. Um, you don't get rid of cancer by ignoring it. You acknowledge that it's dangerous and you get it out of your system as fast as possible. And, and likewise, when it comes to this whole, I don't see color bit. Uh, I, I think what you're trying to say is that you see all people as equals and that's the right thing to say, but your actions have to support that.
And the world sees color. Uh, the criminal justice system sees color. The education justice system sees color. The, the corporate system sees color. And so we're not talking about attacking some individual white person, uh, for all a sins of slavery. You know, for 300 years, we're talking about dismantling the systemic apparatus that are the legacies of those racial injustices. And, and that requires us working together. And so, uh, I post that video. I sent it back to him and he responded saying, wow, I never looked at it that way. That actually makes a lot of sense. And I appreciate that. And so, and so it was really addressing his discomfort by pointing out that this is not an attack on you as some individual white person. This is an attack on the legacies, the systemic apparatus that we need to work together dismantle. And, and so for that, for me, that was a way, man, I felt pretty good about that.
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I agree with you on that, that you've gotta be able to talk about these things, because I think that a lot of this stuff is really kind of hidden from public view. People don't understand systemically what's happening with laws, right? With, uh, people's internal biases that they don't even realize that they have. I mean, I grew up in the south in west Tennessee in a family that, uh, a lot of, a lot of racism in the family history and in the area. And I feel like it has been a lifelong journey for me to unravel my own internal biases. And I try to analyze and look at those things. And that's a really hard place to be sometimes because it makes people vulnerable. And I think that if they just understood what's happening, that they may not even be able to see that it would make a difference.
I, I will say this, that when we talk about, uh, communicating a correct version of not only history, but of the contemporary issues that we need to resolve, um, a lot of it requires meeting people where they are Malcolm X once said that don't be in such a quick career to condemn somebody because they don't, uh, know what you know, or think how you think there was a time when you didn't know, you know, now as well. And, and he's right, because at the end of the day, people I believe do better when they know better and we can be upset and be justified and being upset that a grown person doesn't understand why that comment is racist or sexist or bigoted, or, um, we can be upset and take action to say, let me offer you an olive branch in hopes that you'll recognize that there's a better way to do things.
And sometimes that requires being the martyr, uh, and that's difficult. And I, I can't fault any marginalized community or underrepresented community for saying, I don't have time to be a martyr. I don't want, I, I can't knock 'em for that because it's exhausting and it's frustrating. And it's constant. Um, I, I, I also would encourage people not to underestimate the immense value of that I've, I've seen. And I see it regularly, people who are staunch self-described, you know, whatever pejorative you wanna call on the right wing, come to come to terms with recognizing that that wasn't the way to do things. And there's a better way to do things. It doesn't mean that we're holding hands and singing kumbaya. Uh, it does mean though that we've made progress and, and I think sometimes we need to meet people where they are. And so my whole platform, even when I was running for office was on this principle called compassion through action.
That if you have compassion for humanity, if you have love for humanity, then you have to manifest that with meaningful actions. It can't be empty lip service. It can't be just a tweet or social, uh, you know, social media activism. You need to be, uh, working tangibly to make things happen. And, and it's this kind, it is derived from James Baldwin's wisdom, where he said that I, I can't believe what you say, because I see what you do. And, uh, to undo that distrust, we need to take actions that build trust. And so when we talk about compassion, it can't just be lip service. We need to take meaningful action to address it. You know, love is an action. It's not just a word. And, um, we need to exemplify that by truly uplifting people who are hungry, who are, uh, thirsty, who are, you know, unhoused or who are struggling with student loan debt, who are struggling with medical bills, uh, struggling mental health issues. Uh, these are basic core, you know, foundational principles to make a healthy society. Once we have those, yeah. Then we can talk about everything else, but if people are starving and don't have enough to eat and don't have enough to live off of, and you're talking to me about, you know, other things that are third or fourth down the line, you're, you're missing it. And so my, my platform is to focus on that compassion on the, on the ground level. And then we can build together from there.
He makes it sound so easy. Doesn't he? And to be honest, the solution is simple, but we have a large population in this country. And the only way to reach people is to meet them where they are. And that means to find them locally.
I mean, just to kind of build on that. I mean, I think people should feel comfortable asking questions. I don't think there's anything wrong with asking questions. And I, I did a post about this a little while ago that sometimes you get the questions in the, not most the most tactful manner, but again, you know, meet people where they are, uh, prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam once said that, um, the cure for ignorance is the question. And so asking questions is a good thing. And sometimes those questions that I I know can be malicious and can be leading. And so I would encourage those asking questions to do self-analysis and make sure their questions are coming from a place of positive intent and of sincerity. Um, don't ask a question just to respond and argue, ask a question to understand, and those answering questions, um, you know, assume positive intent and recognize the person is doing their best with the knowledge they have, and you can be that bridge to help, uh, them attain better understanding and to help yourself attain a better friendship.
You know, some of the things that I worry about with our society today is that everything is like here within a click, you know, we're, we, everything is easy to get to. We don't have to wait much anymore. Of course, lately supplies and things have been harder to come by depending on what you're you're working with. But I feel like people are more reactive today. And I feel like our children and the people, you know, are growing up in a very reactive society as well. And it's almost like we've got to make sure that when it comes to educating our kids to stop trying to shove so many facts into their brains or, or alternative facts for that matter, in some cases, and to teach them how to do conflict resolution, how to handle their anger, how to be more patient, how to listen, how to debate in a proper way. Yeah. So that we can actually have a higher level discussion that kind of erases the noise or arises above the noise. Do you know of any, are, do you have any projects that you know of that might be doing things like that? Is that something that you feel like maybe is something worthy of pursuing,
You know, these life skills are obviously critical and I think it comes back to making sure we're funding education effectively. Unfortunately, teachers have been kind of under the, um, bullseye, uh, for some bizarre reason and, and schools are threatening to be defunded, which is just the most absurd thing. I've heard. Teachers are underpaid, schools are under resourced and, um, it there's a racial element to it as well. Um, higher ed, a New Jersey based educational organization just released a study that says that over the last 20 years, at least, um, predominantly black and brown, uh, school districts receive annually 23 billion, less than predominantly white school districts. And so you, you do the math on that 23 billion over the course of a decade or, or two decades. And you're talking about half a trillion dollars and getting to, to a trillion or more over time. And so part of it is making sure that we are, uh, getting adequate resources to our schools, to our teachers or our teachers having to buy supplies outta their own pocket.
So that schools aren't having to have class sizes of 35 40 students. That's I think that's one big part of it. Uh, I think the other element of it is making sure that we're creating, uh, incentives for our teachers to want to stay in the industry. One of the biggest, um, struggles that schools have is a brain drain where teachers will work three, four or five years and say, you know, forget this, I'm making 50,000. I can go work as a, as a bartender and make, you know, 60,000 or 70,000. And, and, uh, as much as I, I love teachers, um, I, I love that they need to have, you know, again, love is in action. It can't just be, I love teachers. It's gotta be, let me provide you the resources to ensure you can do your job. And teacher just shouldn't have to be making that decision in the first place.
So, um, that's really where I think the solution comes at. I think we have the knowledge, we know how to elevate children and how to give them the resources they need to be successful. Uh, we have the proven models, uh, uh, but you know, policy is a, uh, is, is a moral decision. And if our morality is such that we can't give teachers and students, the basic resources they need, um, you know, one really good example that comes to mind right now is the child tax credit ended at the end of last year because, uh, 50 Republican senators and two democratic senators were fear. Moning about inflation. Um, so while they approved an $800 billion war budget, they canceled a $57 billion child tax credit budget. Um, so somehow 800 billion doesn't hit inflation, but 57 billion to stop child poverty does. And as a result, 3.7 million more children are in poverty right now than they were two months ago.
And so, um, you know, to your point about teaching conflict resolution and, and teaching about, you know, uh, better ways to understand if a kid is hungry, , I'm sorry, you're not teaching him conflict resolution. If a kid can't keep his head up because he doesn't have enough food, or she doesn't have enough food, then I'm sorry, you're not gonna teach her about arbitration. And so that, that's what I mean that we really need to strike at these core values, these core foundational human rights issues first, and then the rest of it will come into play. If you wanna, you wanna decrease crime, uh, remember that it's preventative and you, you prevent it by ensuring economic justice and economic resources. We're not even found hitting that basic element right now. And, and, and, and until we do, we're gonna, you know, perpetuate down this really destructive path, unfortunately,
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Qasim points out the warnings of what could happen. And I believe that is why his TikTok account has grown as fast as it has. People are attracted to the news of potential pitfalls. Here are some of the more popular audios from his account.
How many people think about this question? And if you have an answer, do what your response, a gallon of SIM like baby formula costs about $154 a gallon of life saving IV fluid costs about $178. A gallon of a blood transfusion needed by one in seven people, hospitalized costs $1,514. A gallon of insulin, which costs pennies to make is $123,000. And the average gallon of gas that everyone is panicking about is $4 and 26 cents. Now I don't like paying higher gas prices either, and I don't wanna dismiss those for whom it's a struggle, but here's my question. If gas temporarily being at $4 and 26 cents is price gouging in too expensive. Then what do we call it? When the permanent price of life necessities are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So I don't normally do three minute videos, but this is about a four year journey of a man who threatened to kill me for my faith as a Muslim, the FBI's involvement and our eventual victory this week in March of 2018 on Twitter, a white supremacist threatened to repeatedly murder me for my faith. Specifically, he included a picture of Leo Frank, the Jewish American, who was lynched for being Jewish in the early 20th century. I reported the death threats to Twitter. They unsuspended him just a few days later after which he continued to send me death threats. So then after I got a call from the FBI, I asked him if I'd be willing to testify against the man who threatened to kill me of my faith. I said, yes, a face, my would be murder in court was a daunting and weird experience, but here's the thing.
He didn't have the courage to look at me in the eye. He refused a really weird thing happened during the case. Uh, when the jury went out for recess, one juror came back and said to the judge that one of the selected jurors had said, she'd looked up this case and she was gonna vote to acquit no matter what we thought. Well, that's a violation. The judge is gonna clearly dismiss that juror, but the judge kept her we're in rural North Carolina. I mean brown Muslim immigrant, the jury's all white nine men, three women, probably all Christian. And here's one juror saying that she's gonna vote to acquit even before hearing the evidence. Well, guess what? At the end of the two day trial, the jury deliberates and decides to unanimously convict him of threatening, to murder me for my faith. That was an emotional day.
My goal has always been to lead with justice and compassion. So I asked the judge to spare him any prison time. I thought maybe leading with compassion would get him to realize he was wrong. I was wrong. The judge decides to sentence him for six months anyway. And what does he do? He appeals. He loses on appeal and he says it to the Supreme court. And the Supreme court also says no. So at this point, I'm like this guy hasn't learned his lesson. People need to know there are gonna be consequences to sending death threats, to faith and racial minorities. So citing a rarely used Virginia antidiscrimination statute that condemns and forbids online hate. We filed a civil suit against him. Why? Because anti Muslim racist anti-Semitic anti-immigrant anti-Asian hate crimes are at all time highs. And we need to set the precedent that this kind of hate will not go unpunished.
And look, I'm extremely lucky to be a lawyer and to have had access to amazing legal support. Not everyone has that access. I needed to make sure they knew that they have a path to accountability. Should they be threatened for their faith or some other protected class? After four long years, we got a criminal conviction, a civil conviction, and a $10,000 monetary settlement. And here are the three things I've learned. One by pocket and marginalized communities need to do a better job of reporting hate crimes against us. I know it's exhausting, but it's how we make safer communities. Two big techniques do a better job of keeping online communities safe. This guy threatened to kill me and Twitter. Still let him go unrestricted. And three, while I was wrong to think that compassion might change his heart. I have no regrets in leading with compassion.
We're all better than the worst moment of our lives. Unfortunately, this guy didn't take advantage of that compassion and that's on him. Not me. As you all saying goes, we don't inherit this land from our parents. We borrow from our children. So let's create that truly compassionate and loving world that our children deserve. Thank you for being on this journey with me, let's get to work. How many people know where America ranks worldwide in healthcare among developed countries. If you guess we're number one, you'd be wrong. If you guess that we're in the top 10, you'd be wrong again. If you guess dead last, you would be right. A new report just last year, ranks America dead last in healthcare among rich countries, despite spending the most. Yeah, we spend twice as much on healthcare as other developed countries like Canada, United Kingdom and Germany, this least and lower life expectancies for all people in America.
And as a racial element, black women die at three times. The rate as white women, black and brown children die at higher race than white children. Moreover, 70,000 Americas a year die waiting for healthcare and half a million going to medical bankruptcy because they committed the crime of getting cancer or an accident. Every country that ranks ahead of us has universal healthcare added lower cost with higher left expectancy. What is the obsession in America with protecting insurance companies and their billion dollar profits, universal healthcare. Isn't just a financially smart decision. It's the morally right. One. How many people know that the Nazis got their inspiration for their Nuremberg laws from America's Jim Crow laws in nearly 1920s and thirties, Alf Hitler sent his lawyers to the United States specifically to study America's Jim Crow and segregation laws. The Nazis were absolutely fascinated because the United States was the world's leading segregation is country.
So as the Nazis built up their segregation of the Jews, they wanted to know how did Americans so effectively keep black and white for marrying or keep black people from getting any kind of meaningful power. As a result, the nuremburg laws in Germany were modeled exactly off of Jim Crow, America, but here's where gets really nasty after studying the one drop rule in the United States, which said that if a white person has even one drop of black blood in them, then they can't intermarry with white people. The Nazi said, this is going too far. That's right. The Nazis found America's racist laws to racist. They said we're Nazis, but we're not American Jim Crow. And there's a lot more comment and follow. Let me know what questions you have. Let's keep the dialogue going
With all the issues we're facing in the world. I ask Qasim, what is he doing now on a daily basis to help us progress forward? What's he doing to help the working class of the United States
Part of this taking on cases? So what I do with my day job, the other part is I, I sit on the board, uh, advisory board for common defense. It's a veterans organization that works on ending, never ending orders and, and reigning in our, our foreign policy. Um, I also, um, uh, you know, pretty active in interfaith work locally as well. So I, I, I stay pretty involved and engaged. Um, so if folks wanna get involved with common defense, you can check them on a common defense us or with our pack. You can go to my social media, uh, and, and support our pack that way as well. But you know, both these are intended to create, uh, kind of a more just foreign policy, more just domestic policy by electing people who are more committed to working people, uh, and, and not committed to billion dollar corporations.
Thank you for listening today. My name is Sally Hendrick. Be sure to visit our website for show notes and more information on how you can inspire others. If you would like to contribute content to our magazine, please apply on our website at shoutyourcause.com.