5 Questions for Rehana Mohammed

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Rehana Mohammed, a Black bisexual Muslim woman with short black hair, sits on a park bench. She is wearing a dark blue v-neck t-shirt, blue jeans, and black and white sneakers.

Rehana Mohammed (Photo by Zayn Thia)

Rehana Mohammed is a Black, bisexual, Muslim woman who is running to be the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) for 2F07 in Washington D.C. A native of D.C. and a self-proclaimed “budget nerd,” Mohammed is seeking office to help her community and her neighbors on the local level, something she believes is especially important right now.

Mohammed earned a B.S. in Foreign Service and an M.S. in Public Policy and Management, and spent several years as a Policy Analyst at the White House Office of Management and Budget. Currently, she is a director at a local non-profit, where she oversees a team of about 15 staff that manages communications, IT, project management, and data analytics for a $600 million federal program that helps rural health clinics get connected to the Internet. Her ANC platform focuses on affordable housing, public safety, decriminalizing sex work, safe and accessible public transportation, and homelessness.

1. Describe yourself in a six-word sentence.
You’ll always get the real me.

2. What was the last thing you shared on social media?
Today, I shared on my Instagram a helpful resource about how to use less ableist language. I always think that it’s important to be doing work to improve yourself and so one of the things I’m really focused on right now is not using the word “crazy.” I used to use that word all the time, and then I came across this resource that gives suggestions for other words you can use.

3. What do you think is the main challenge facing LGBTQ people in your community?
One of the big issues that I see is performative allyship. I think that the LGBTQ rights movement has succeeded in the fact that we are now recognized as part of the progressive, Democratic platform. But it’s not enough. I am married to a woman, so I appreciate same-sex marriage, but at the end of the day, I’m really more concerned about non-discrimination protections in employment and housing, and the epidemic of violence facing Black trans women. We need to be asking more from our allies . . . I want to know what actions you’re taking. I want to know how you are actively dismantling the systems that oppress us.

4. What is your favorite LGBTQ business where you live?
Republic Restoratives. Not only do they make good liquor, but I love supporting a queer women-owned business. And I just really love the story of how they were founded and the crowdfunding that helped them launch their business. I’ve been several times and it’s always just such a nice, welcoming place. Plus, they have the best bourbon.

5. What advice do you have for LGBTQ people running for office?
Be yourself. I think that it’s so important when you are a public servant and especially when you’re running for office to bring your full self to that race and that position because you’re going to do a better job. People are going to trust you more and with that, you’ll be able to get more done. I know firsthand that it’s scary to bring your full self to something so public and something where people can see it as controversial. But for me authenticity is a key component of my leadership style and what makes me effective. So, be yourself.

 

 

 

Becca Damante
Becca Damante
Becca is a Smith college graduate with a B.A. in Women and Gender Studies and an Archives concentration. She has worked and written for non-profits organizations such as Media Matters for America, The Century Foundation, and GLAAD, and loves to write about the intersections between pop culture, politics, and social justice. You can find her at @beccadamante on Twitter.