Faisa Farole paid her first visit to the capitol building in Olympia on Monday, part of Washington State Muslim Lobby Day. Accompanied by her husband and two sons, she marched, rallied, met with legislators and promised to come back and do it again.
"It’s exciting, exciting to be at a place where the laws of the state of Washington are being made," she said.
It was a disciplined and carefully choreographed effort to connect with politicians in Olympia and push form action on issues of importance to the broader Muslim community.
Organizer Arsalan Bukhari of CAIR (the Council on American Islamic relations) said the most important areas of concern are religious freedom, religious holidays and free health care for all. Muslim activists like Faisa urged their representatives to take action on different bills and resolutions addressing those issues.
State Rep. Steve Bergquist (D-Dist. 11) met with Faisa and about 12 others in a cramped conference room. He listened, promised to study the issues, shook hands all around and called the meeting valuable.
“They’re my bosses. The more I can get to know my bosses the better a job I can do for the community," said bergquist.
Faisa, who was born in Somalia but raised in this country, sees a family future in political activism.
“I hope my kids are going to want to go into politics. They were born here. Maybe one of them will be president someday!” she said.