Rashida Tlaib was raised in Detroit and is the child of immigrants, who taught her the importance of hard work, honesty, and commitment to community. As the eldest of 14 children, she developed leadership qualities that made her responsible, caring, and compassionate toward others. In 1998, she received her B.A. in Political Science from Wayne State University. While working full-time, she attended weekend classes at Thomas Cooley Law School, where she earned her law degree in January of 2004.
Her family’s struggle to create a new life in Detroit inspired Rashida’s long term commitment to public service and giving back to the community. She provided social and advocacy services to thousands of local families at Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development (LASED), the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), the Office of State Representative Steve Tobocman, the International Institute of Metro Detroit, and the Neighborhood Tax Center.
Rashida was elected to Michigan House of Representatives in 2008, representing the 12th District (Detroit). In her first term, she quickly became a leader amongst her peers. She was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee and serves as the Minority Vice Chair of Judicary and Department of Community Health Subcommittees.
While participating in these valuable committees, she worked on over thirty bills combating poverty, increasing access to human services, protecting our public health and environment, and promoting public safety.
Although her work in Lansing is significant, her most important accomplishment has been her neighborhood service center, which has over twelve different programs offered to low-income families and those who need help the most. Rashida is the only legislator that has a fully-staffed service center of this kind, which provides direct advocacy and services to residents like free tax preparation and access to weatherization programs.
Rashida made history by becoming the first female Muslim elected to the Michigan Legislature, and only second in the country. Rashida has been married to her husband, Fayez, for fifteen years. Together they have two sons, Adam (6) and Yusuf (1).
- ACCESS Community Leadership Award
- National Network for Arab American Communities Emerging Leaders Award
- Heroes for Michigan Children Award
- Headliner Award for Women of Wayne State University
- Alternatives for Girls Summit Role Model of the Year Award
- CHASS Health Care Hero Award
- University of Michigan-Dearborn Arab Student Union Empowering the Youth Award
- Crain’s Detroit Business “Women to Watch”
- Michigan After-School Partnership After School Champion Award
- Neighborly Needs Inc. Rebuilding Urban America Award
- MOSES Political Leadership Award
- Michigan Hispanic Caucus Certificate of Special Recognition
- United Community Housing Coalition’s Maryann Mahaffey Public Servant of the Year
- AAPAC Public Servant Award
- Just Neighbor Advocacy Award
- Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan Legislator of the Year
- “Top 10 Heroes” by Immigrants’ List
- Clean Water Action Clean Water Hero
- Great Start Wayne County Early Childhood Champion