Rashida Harbi Tlaib (/təˈliːb/, tə-LEEB; born July 24, 1976) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the U.S. representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district since 2019. The district includes the western half of Detroit, along with several of its western suburbs and much of the Downriver area. A member of the Democratic Party, Tlaib represented the 6th and 12th districts of the Michigan House of Representatives before her election to Congress.
In 2018, Tlaib won the Democratic nomination for the United States House of Representatives seat from Michigan's 13th congressional district. She ran unopposed in the general election and became the first woman of Palestinian descent in Congress, the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan legislature, and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, along with Ilhan Omar (D-MN). Tlaib is a member of The Squad, an informal group of six (four until the 2020 elections) U.S. representatives on the left wing of the Democratic Party.
- I want you to know my mom, who’s from a small village in the West Bank. They’re literally glued. It’s like 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. And now it’s more than that. They’re glued to the TV. My grandmother, my aunts, my uncles in Palestine are sitting by and watching their granddaughter [inaudible]. I want to tell them—I want to tell them—I want them to know, you know, as I uplift the families of the 13th Congressional District, I’ll uplift them, every single day, being who I am as a proud Palestinian American and woman and Muslim. I [inaudible] so much, because for so many years they’ve felt dehumanized. And I tell you, as a Palestinian, it means—you know, a lot of my strength comes from being Palestinian. But I can tell you, my mother’s—like the compassion this woman his, that is in me. She smiles every single time that she—this woman doesn’t even understand when people are being racist to her, because she believes that people can be better. And she is an inspiration to me in so many ways.
- Speech after winning election to Congress, November 2018
Interview with Democracy Now (2020)Edit
- I was at the airport on my way to D.C., and I said, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to, you know, not be there, kind of in his face, like I’m not going anywhere, you’re going somewhere.” And for me, at that moment, I said to her, “But also, I don’t know about wearing white, because, I mean, the suffrage movement didn’t always — it didn’t include the brown, black women.” And so, it was hard for me. So, I remember, Ilhan is like, “Well, wear something else.” I was like, “Ooh, I’m going to wear a Palestinian thobe”...I couldn’t sit through some of it, and we ended up leaving, especially when they just went just full-out applause when they put that medal around Rush. And then — I know. I know. Do you know there was a 97-year-old man who was a guest of another colleague, who has been working really hard to try to get the Medal of Freedom for this man, who survived Nazi Germany? And he invented something to do with solar, profound accomplishments, profound strength, things that we need to be celebrating in our country. And he watched in the gallery to see somebody like that get the Medal of Freedom, when he’s sitting there, asking — you know, when he’s sitting there, just like, “I’ve done all these things in my life. I’ve survived all this.” And he did it from — you know, in this beautiful, gracious way, even after all that he’s been through.
- about the State of the Union speech
- There’s this new era of social justice movement about, “Yeah, we’re going to organize in the streets.” And let me tell you, I mean, I grew up hearing people like Grace Lee Boggs and all, everybody, that said, “Don’t wait for somebody to introduce things in the halls of Congress or wait ’til the White House wakes up. We transform our country by movement work outside of the halls of Congress and in the White House.” And so, believe in that, because that’s exactly what we’ve done.
- I mean, what’s incredible about my sisters up here and all of us is, I mean, we ran not one dime of corporate dollars. Like, we ran with no corporate PAC money. We ran talking about our immigrant stories, our backgrounds, our parents. I mean, every time Ayanna talks about her mother, I tear up. We talk about these forms of oppression that we’ve all gone through in our lives, in our workplaces and everything. But we ran just as we are, with nobody coming and trying to — like, “Mmm.” You know, they tried. And I’m like, “No, I don’t want your money. No, I’m going to be just like this.”
- Yeah, I’m going to push back against you spending money on a hockey stadium downtown Detroit, while a mile away, not even, a few blocks away, there’s a school with no drinking water, literally shutting down the drinking fountains. So, it’s also the fact that even on the grassroots level, that transformative change that was happening, organizing in the streets of Detroit, all of a sudden just reached the halls of Congress, right?
- Please, God, because I don’t want to spend a long time there, run. It’s true. Run for office. Run for Congress. Run.
- In our movement work and in our — in everything, in how we see our lens, like sometimes you almost want to clear the glass so that people understand it’s the same people trying to oppress me as trying to oppress you.
interview with Democracy Now (2018)Edit
- I’m going to humanize this issue...I am for everyone, every single person, Israeli, Palestinian, to have equal access to opportunities, to feel safe where they live, and to really be a genuine partner and a visionary around reaching peace in that region. And so, I come with those stories of my grandfather and my uncle and my grandmother, who still lives in the West Bank...I can tell you, the majority, do not speak about this issue like the leadership there. They all really do want to live side by side.
- Is this money that is really helping the American people, or is it helping companies? Because when we become a, you know, kind of company- and corporation-driven government, from having our military and having our education system—even now our healthcare system is so much towards leaning towards very corporate-like and very for-profit—I think that’s when the danger comes in. That’s when we know those people are not for us, they’re for the greed that comes with trying to privatize our whole military industry.
- I believe that we shouldn’t be supporting any form of aid towards countries that are killing people that are innocent. And you can claim, as many will claim, that this is about security and so forth, but I think America needs to be held responsible. I mean, me, as an American, I know and feel that when you see protesters, peaceful protesters, marching, if it’s in Gaza, all the way to even Africa and other parts of the world—I see it everywhere—that if it’s promoting, you know, the violation of people’s international human rights, if it’s promoting the lack of freedom of speech, the lack of freedom to assemble, which is our core—part of our core of who we are as Americans, then, yes, cutting off aid is a possibility for me, absolutely. I mean, we have to use our American aid and our partnership as leverage, to promote who we are. And we don’t do that by supporting those kinds of killings.
- I’m bringing my bullhorn to the floor of Congress
- over half of our colleagues in Congress right now are millionaires...They’re not struggling watching, you know, so many of our parents having two or three jobs to make ends meet. We hear all of these stories, and we have so much faith in our public servants in Congress to fight for us, but I think we have to be one of us to be there, you know, for us to really truly be genuine about it, grounded and rooted into why we’re there and why we need to be able to push against this kind of corporate greed that continues to fester in all parts of our government.
- the government needs to take the lead on writing something that gets us closer to universal healthcare. And Medicare for all gets us closer to a blanket true access to quality healthcare that doesn’t allow the insurance industry to abuse us, to—insurance industry to still continue to manipulate this whole process around drug—the drug industry, the prescription drug industry.
- I think American Muslims and Muslims around the world needed a sense of, you know, some light, some feeling that, yes, this is exactly why people need to run and speak up and fight back, because of this possibility, the fact that now two Muslim American women are going to be able to walk onto the House floor of Congress. What an incredible moment in our country. Celebrate it. It is something that speaks volumes, because we can do press conferences, we can do marches, we can do protests—and those are so important—but running for office, getting elected in a predominantly non-Muslim community—my sister Ilhan Omar is going to represent a 70 percent white community. And people believed in us. They have faith in us. That is the America I know and love. And I just can’t wait to see the faces of so many people saying this actually really did happen.
- Yes, Allah is a she.
- lifting that ban on accepting donations from fossil fuel companies, to me, that action spoke more than any press release or statement that’s coming out of DNC. I mean, that, to me, says that those issues are not priority.
- I don’t want to see my families scared of its own government. I don’t want my families worried about what’s going to happen after they drop their child off at school...I can’t wait to be able to vote to abolish ICE.
- ("What should be done about Yemen?")...I’m going to come from a place of humanity. And that means not allowing children to starve, not allowing to support any military action by any government that targets innocent people. You know, it doesn’t work, and it will never work, for us to approach this from a military stance. We are really losing just the humanity of what it really means. The generation of children there, we can never get the years back. We can never help ease or heal the pain that comes with war and with bombings and killings. All I can tell you is that I will try my best to make sure people understand what the human cost and the human impact is of that kind of support.
- The federal government says to states, “You have to do certain things before we actually give you aid for roads and for different kinds of services. You know, you can’t discriminate. You can’t violate someone’s right.” We do it to states all the time. We need to do the same thing to foreign countries. We can’t sit back and just give it out freely without using it as leverage to promote peace and to promote true, real justice for all.
Quotes about Rashida TlaibEdit
- Unlike approaches that pass on the costs of transition to working people, the Green New Deal is squarely focused on marrying pollution reduction to the top priorities of the most vulnerable workers and the most excluded communities. This is the game changer of having representatives in Congress rooted in working-class struggles for living wage jobs and for nontoxic air and water-women like Rashida Tlaib, who helped fight a successful battle against Koch Industries' noxious petroleum coke mountain in Detroit.
- Naomi Klein On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal (2019)
- Four of the most dynamic women of color in Congress – representatives Pramila Jayapal, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib
- Barbara Smith article (2020)