Ghazala Hashmi has deep ties to the VCCS. She taught English at Reynolds Community College for 18 years, and was founding director of the school’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
Having moved to the U.S. from India with her family 1969, she was prompted to take an active role in politics by the current administration’s hostility towards immigrants in general, and Muslims in particular.
“I realized I had a choice,” she wrote in a blog post titled “Ghazala Hashmi is an American name. “I could remain unheard, unseen, and unrepresented; or, I could speak out, be visible, and dare to claim for myself and other marginalized communities the right to full participation in our democracy.”
In November, she upset a Republican incumbent and won a four-year term representing a suburban Richmond district in the Virginia Senate. She is the first member of the Muslim faith to serve in that body.
“Many of us who are drawn to work and teach in community colleges are motivated by the core values of public service,” said Hashmi. “We understand that community colleges provide essential pathways for economic and social mobility, that they open up the doors of educational opportunity for many families, and that they serve the essential needs for workforce development within communities.
“As a professor in a community college, I encountered so many students who were first generation college students and who knew that their hard work was imperative — not only for their own success — but for the success of their families,” Hashmi added.
Hashmi told Richmond public radio she is “super excited” by the governor’s G3 proposal to provide free access to Virginia’s Community Colleges to low and middle income students who sign up for targeted high-demand career training programs.
“With nearly 20 years of experience working within our system, no one is going to have a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our students and colleges,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “I’m looking forward to working with Sen. Hashmi on the issues and decisions that can really advance our community college mission of increasing affordable access to higher education and workforce training.”
“Collaboration, a willingness to listen and engage with all concerned voices, and careful research and understanding of issues are central to my approach,” said Hashmi. “I am very excited to join the 2020 General Assembly and to be a voice for many diverse communities.”
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