Packs Hibernian Hall with supporters would be first Somali-American elected in Massachusetts.
With a crowd of about 200 in the audience, District 7 candidate Deeqo Jibril formally kicked off her campaign for the City Council seat being vacated by Tito Jackson, who announced his bid for mayor in January.
A single mother who immigrated to Boston from Somalia, Jibril spoke about her work building bridges between the Somali community and the civic and government sectors in Boston.
"I came to this country as a refugee and was put into a school system and expected to perform at the level of my peers who spoke English better than me,” she said. "I was not the first English language learner to go through the Boston Public Schools and certainly not the last. We have to make improvements to the system to make sure that our children are challenged and have the support they need not just to survive, but to excel.”
Supporters lauded Jibril, who founded and served as executive director of the Somali Community and Cultural Association, as a veteran community organizer. Those in attendance included state Rep. Liz Malia, who introduced Jibril, and former at-large City Councilor and 2013 mayoral candidate John Connolly. Masjid Al Quran Imam Taalib Mahdee and Rabbi Jim Morgan delivered an invocation.
"The kind of work she does and the kind of leadership she presents is exactly what we need for the next generation of people to be involved in politics,” Malia said of Jibril.
Also in attendance were operatives with Liberty Square Group, the political consulting firm Jibril has hired to manage media for her campaign, including four videographers.
Miguel Chavez, who attended Jibril’s campaign kickoff, told the Banner he has withdrawn his candidacy for the District 7 seat and is supporting Jibril.
Jibril will likely face off against candidates Angelina Camacho, Charles Clemmons Muhammad, Joao DePina, Rufus Faulk, Carlos Henriquez, Kim Janey, Domonique Williams and Hassan Williams. Janey so far leads the pack in fundraising, reporting $19,235 in her account as of the March 31 Office of Campaign ad Public Finance reporting period. Jibril’s campaign balance was $9,982, DePina’s was $5,892 and Faulk’s, $3,237.
Candidates have until May 17 to apply for nomination papers. Each candidate is required to submit 200 valid signatures of registered voters residing in District 7 by the May 23 deadline. The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, September 26, winnowing the field down to the two top vote-getters. The general election will be held Tuesday, November 7.