National News

Could Atlanta City Council candidate become first ever queer Muslim woman to hold office?

Posted August 25, 2017 1:35 p.m. EDT

— Anyone who wants to be the next mayor of Atlanta, or on city council, must file the official paperwork at Atlanta City Hall by Friday.

One candidate who is now officially part of the race could be the first Muslim queer woman to serve in office anywhere in the United States, if elected.

Born and raised in Atlanta, Liliana Bakhtiari wants to see change in city government to reflect the diversity of the community.

"I decided to run because I did not feel represented at the city council and I honestly believe that I could be better," Bakhtiari told CBS46.

Bakhtiari is running for the city council seat in District 5, covering parts of Downtown, East Atlanta, Edgewood and Eastlake.

"There are people out there that don't think that it is possible. There are people out there who say that you can't be Muslim and queer," Bakhtiari argued.

Growing up, she worked at her father's Edgewood Avenue pharmacy. She went to college steps up the road at Georgia State University and then traveled the world, visiting 22 countries fighting for human rights.

Now the 29-year-old is focused on making our country a better place, starting with Atlanta.

"Under Trump's first travel ban, a few members of my family came up for deportation so it became very clear to me that you have to build locally in order to better effect what is happening nationally," Bakhtiari contended.

Her run for office is attracting national attention with articles in the Huffington Post and Teen Vogue.

"Teen Vogue gave me a platform to reach other brown and Muslim children and young women…a mother reached out to me and said that she teared up when her daughter saw my photo and name and said mom, 'She looks like me,' and she was a little Iranian girl," stated Bakhtiari.

Bakhtiari's platform is focused on the future: affording housing, infrastructure, better schools and homeless outreach.

Bakhtiari shared, "My hope in doing this is to encourage other people to step up, not just me. I don't believe I am the answer. I believe I am a part of the answer."