I decided to launch “ANTIDOTE” after my first unsuccessful run for Congress last year. Against many odds, I became the first Muslim woman in my state’s history to get my name on the ballot for the national elections, and went up against even more odds to win.
I proudly became one of the unprecedented number of young women of color running for office in the most historic election year of our lives. The experience exposed me firsthand to the powers at play and why things are the way they are—how voices like mine have been excluded from the conversation for so long.
Our campaign attracted one of the youngest and most diverse groups of volunteers in the 2020 elections, many getting involved for the first time ever because they, too, felt like they couldn’t wait any longer to speak up. It inspired so many life-changing conversations that I wanted to start a podcast as a space for us to keep them going.
One of the many ways that our campaign was historic was that it was [part of] the first political race to launch mid-quarantine and go entirely digital. One of the new ways we engaged our base was by hosting volunteer-only events with inspiring young icons and role-model friends of mine doing dope things, where they would join me to kick back over Zoom and we’d send the secret link out to all our volunteers. I had my friend, the talented pop singer and outspoken activist Lauren Jauregui, drop in one evening for a one-on-one chat about our campaign, and we got over a thousand volunteer sign-ups overnight, which is unheard of for a traditional campaign. The podcast format was a natural evolution of the digital events we were already doing for the campaign—whether it’s me addressing certain issues directly or inviting a familiar guest to talk through it with us the way we typically would in our group chat, only a little less chaotic.