Posted by Guest on June 30, 2017 in Blog

Marambalck_and_White.jpgBy Maram Abdelhamid

My family and I immigrated to the United States from Egypt in the fall of 1988. We moved here after my family lost their business in times of intense corruption in the country. 

I remember moving here to a beautiful townhouse in Woodbridge, New Jersey, seeing snow for the first time and having our landlord bring us a turkey and an old black and white television for Thanksgiving.

The first few years in America were difficult. We moved a lot from New York to California to Los Angeles.  I missed my grandparents, cousins and extended family. My dad worked all the time and we essentially had to start from scratch.

Through these hard times, my parents were always there for us. They made sure to instill in us strong values like hard work, education and the idea that we have the ability to make the world around us a better place, even in the smallest way possible.

I grew up thinking that I can be anything I wanted to be. With hard work and a lot of struggle, I graduated from the University of Denver where I studied Political Science and Economics in June 2001. Two and half months later 9/11 happened...

For everyone, 9/11 was a day of infamy. For me, it was the day that led me to Washington, D.C. to start a career in politics and advocacy. 

It’s been 16 years since that fateful day. In that time, I’ve dedicated my life to empowering and teaching others to be active in civil society, politics and government and to access the resources and skills necessary to thrive in competitive leadership environments. I worked on behalf of organizations to advocate for Americans fighting economic and social inequality. I have traveled on behalf of the State Department to train civil society groups and share our unique American diversity, promote our democratic values and our electoral process.

I believed in our American democracy so much that I built a nonprofit that, at it’s heart, meant to empower and teach the next generation to lead instead of feeling helpless. I named the organization Liberty and Access For All or L+A.

L+A was created because I believe that there is a real need for diverse voices and leadership in Washington, D.C. and in all communities. Our Board of Directors are Republicans, Democrats and Independents who are committed to working together to empower, teach and connect L+A program participants to the sphere of influence in Washington, D.C. and beyond. Together, we believe that people representing every political party and every demographic should be at the leadership table!

In the climate of fear and hate of the "other," I still  believe in the promise of America, a place where anyone who is full of grit and is brave can change the world and be successful. 

Click here to share your own immigrant story or email it to us at communications@aaiusa.org.