I was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and came to America when I was two years old (Dad is holding me). My family came to America via lottery, through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program . I was raised in Hollis/Jamaica, NYC. I’m the middle child of five (three brothers and one younger sister). As a teenager, my dad served in the guerrilla resistance army during the Bangladesh Liberation War and lives with un-diagnosed PTSD. In America, my father was a security guard for many years, eventually being promoted to security supervisor, while my mom was a housewife. We grew up in poverty where the four brothers shared a single bed/bedroom (with Dad sleeping on the floor at times), where our clothes are stacked in piles, and my attire was mostly hand-me-downs from my older siblings. In addition, I faced unique challenges growing up being selectively mute, visible tics, reading disabilities, and emotionally stunted, though gifted in mathematics. In high school, I was the slacker, until having an epiphany, where I dedicated my life (at the time) to protect the environment.
I have received BS Honors Economic Analysis & BA Environmental Economics from SUNY Binghamton graduating with summa cum laude distinction (above 3.9 GPA). I was an active environmental activist in campus, where I designed and spearheaded an innovative campus-wide conservation contest. Furthermore, my honors economics thesis was on Japanese Whaling (sadly Japan has begun commercial whaling; agreeing with my conclusion). I was received MS in Agricultural Resource Economics from UC Berkeley (was enrolled in PhD program), where I was a graduate student instructor for over a year teaching Introductory Economics, and Environmental Economics. Feel free to view my teaching portfolio and philosophy.
In 2014, I moved to Cottage Grove, Minnesota, for a job opportunity without knowing anyone and not knowing how to drive! I was the Education Data Analyst for South Washington County Schools for two and half years. After the historic 2016 election, I resigned from my role because the country was getting further polarized and I should be doing something about it.
I have lived in Frogtown/Midway for roughly four years renting in different locations. After my debut as a local superhero and building relationships with neighbors, I’ve felt a stronger bond with the community. I’m a former boardmember of District Planning Council 7. In 2019, I ran for Saint Paul city council for Ward 1 and ran as the Frogtown Crusader. During my campaign, I made it a priority to reach out to every community including disenfranchised communities. I have received over 504 votes during the election.
Since then, I have organized for the 2020 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. During the 2020 presidential election, I was an election judge for Ramsey county for over a month. I’ve become a full-fledged grassroots community organizer leading several initiatives including lead organizer for the Frogtown Cleanup Squad, Midway Cleanup Squad, and Frogtown Fireworks Response Squad. I’ve done some political organizing in addressing the rising catalytic converters thefts throughout the city. I have created a petition that received 1600 signatures that led to a virtual town hall meeting bringing citizens and state legislators together. I’m also the founder of the Saint Paul Open Data Initiative, which has open source python code and displays interactive reports relevant for community needs, such as interactive crime maps. I am a self-learned python/SQL programmer, educator, social scientist, and systems thinker.
In summary, public service is my passion and I’m well educated to be the mayor of Saint Paul.