RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Coming off a historic win on Election night, Virginia’s 10th District Senator-elect Ghazala Hashmi spoke with 8News about the victory and what it means for women everywhere.
Becoming Virginia’s first Muslim-American woman to win a Senate seat, upsetting incumbent Glen Sturtevant in her first run for office, Hashmi told 8News the victory is a message to young girls facing adversities: you can do it.
“I’ve been getting messages from throughout the world because I have relatives all over the world and they are so excited just to know that this has been possible for someone like me to run and be elected in Virginia,” Senator-elect Hashmi said.
Immigrating from India at the age of four, Hashmi said she never imagined the heights she would reach.
“Did that four-year-old girl ever think she’d be sitting here today? I don’t think that four-year-old girl ever imagined that but I think her grandmother imagined it for her,” she said.
As a little girl, Hashmi’s family made sure that being a woman wouldn’t stop her from achieving her dreams.
“My grandmother really valued education and she valued education for women in particular,” Hashmi said.
She told 8News Wednesday that being “Ghazala Hashmi” is often a hurtful challenge.
“I guess you’ve proven that Ghazala is truly an American name,” Hashmi exclaimed in her victory speech Tuesday night.
Hashmi’s name became a symbolic staple for her campaign.
“Oftentimes because of my name, because it’s unusual, people see me as foreign or other or not American,” she explained.
Now, she’s humbled to know that girls of all nationalities and backgrounds girls can realize they can be heard, too.
“I’ve been hearing from so many moms, especially Muslim moms, but also moms of different heritage and backgrounds who are saying that their daughters are so excited, that they see a connection. Someone who has a name, maybe a name that’s similar to theirs, that they’re so excited that this is possible,” Hashmi said.
The Senator-elect says the win is not just for young girls. She’s told 8News she’s heard from several college-age women who say they believe they can succeed, too, following her historic win.