Sameena Mustafa is a progressive Democrat who ran for the United States House of Representatives in Illinois’ 5th District against the Democratic incumbent, Mike Quigley, in the March 2018 Illinois primary. Endorsed by the Justice Democrats, the slate behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she ran a 100% grassroots-funded campaign refusing all corporate PAC donations as a first-time candidate. She was the only Asian and Muslim woman running at the federal level in Illinois in 2018. She was also endorsed by Northside Democracy for America (NDFA), Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO), VOTEPROCHOICE, and Americans for Democratic Action (ADA).
A native Chicagoan and graduate of Northwestern University, she has 25 years of experience in the business, nonprofit and arts sectors, including managing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, advising nonprofits and small businesses as a commercial real estate tenant advocate, and starting a diverse political comedy collective and training program for women of color. With IL State Rep. Litesa Wallace and Martese Chism of National Nurses United, she co-founded Illinois for All, a multi-racial freedom fighter Our Revolution affiliate. On October 28th, she will debut “To the Left,” a progressive talk show on WCPT 820-AM, with political activist, Shana East.
Sameena has been praised for her long history of leadership and service to her community in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and WGN Radio. In 2016, the Chicago Reader cited Sameena as one of the best of Chicago comedy. She has served on boards at WBEZ/Chicago Public Media, YWCA, United Way, and the Chicago Community Trust and held leadership roles at Chicago Cares, Cabrini Green Youth Programs, Northwestern Club of Chicago, and the National Association of Asian American Professionals and currently serves as a Director on the Board of the League of Women Voters of Chicago and on the Advisory Councils for Chicago Women’s Health Center, a feminist health collective, and State Matters, a legislative educational nonprofit
Shana East is a grassroots organizer living in Chicago, Illinois. She began her foray into electoral politics in early 2015, when she took a position on Chuy García’s mayoral campaign team during a historic runoff election. She then went on to be a founding member of The People For Bernie Sanders, before co-founding the volunteer-run Illinois for Bernie (now Illinois Progressive Network). This grassroots organization powered entirely by volunteers, not only got Bernie Sanders on the ballot, but it laid the groundwork for the official campaign to make its way to the state, which it earlier had not seen as viable.
In 2016, East became a staff member on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, which electrified Illinois voters in the March 2016 primary and won Bernie 79 of Illinois’ 102 counties, 11 of 18 congressional districts, and almost a million votes. Later that year, she was a lead organizer of The People’s Convention; a ‘shadow convention’ that took place in Philadelphia during the same week as the DNC Convention.