Bushra Amiwala is a Skokie native and daughter of immigrants who truly appreciates diversity in its many beautiful forms. As communities across our nation – the working poor, religious and ethnic minorities, and young changemakers who are ignored by political establishments – are pushed aside, Bushra is a committed voice for underrepresented citizens. She seeks to ensure that our nation’s future is in good hands by building a compassionate, politically-engaged generation.
Read our Q&A with her and be inspired!
Who is Bushra Amiwala?
Bushra Amiwala is a media icon, activist, dynamic speaker, and the first Gen Z woman elected to public office.
What are three words that best describe you?
Authentic, Charismatic, and self-motivated
What are your thoughts on girl-child education in Pakistan?
I believe investing in the next generation of girls is a major area of opportunity for every country, including Pakistan.
Do you have mentors and how have they impacted your journey?
Yes. I have three types of mentors. I have what I call micro-mentors, people who came into my life for a specific reason, purpose, or opportunity, and then we passively keep in touch on social media here and there. I have mentors who I am able to turn to and confide in when faced with adversity or a difficult challenge or situation. And then, I have unacquainted mentors; these people I may not even have had the opportunity to connect with 1:1, they don’t know me personally, yet their journey, resilience and the way they have blazed the trail in their respective fields continue to inspire me everyday: People such as Malala Yousafzai, Noor Tagouri, and Amani al-Khatahtbeh
If you could go back in time, what is one piece of advice would you offer a younger Bushra?
Those who are hurt the most on the inside, have the most hate to give others. It is not a reflection of you, but of them.
What are the top 3 impactful things you have done/achieved in the past year as concerns uplifting women? 1. I serve on the next-gen Board of the Muslim Civic Coalition, where we passed legislation that impacts everything from teaching the positive contributions of minority faith groups in history, to passing the Inclusive Attire Act in the State of Illinois, which allows accommodations for those who may choose to make modest dress changes to their uniform. 2. Heavily investing in pro-choice candidates, many of whom are now elected to public offices, such as my new State Representative, Kevin Olickal, or are still campaigning, such as Mueze Bawany. 3. Recognizing future leaders, seeking them out, amplifying their voices, bringing them to exclusive events with me, and introducing them to people in my network.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you so far?
Change is the only constant, your ability to adapt is what will set you apart from others.
What is one bad habit you are committed to changing?
Adding a lot of oat milk and vanilla syrup to my coffee every morning. Probably not my healthiest choice.
Time Travel or Teleportation?
Teleportation. What a way to maximize living in the moment.
What would you like to be remembered for?
As someone who became the change she wanted to see in the world.
Amiwala is an avid public speaker and has spoken in many events such as TEDxDePaul University and Harvard University to name a few. She is one of the subjects of an original documentary called And She Could Be Next on PBS. She is also the female candidate on Amazon Prime’s RUN The Series. She is currently the subject of an original Hulu documentary called Our America: Women Forward.