National Convention Delegate: Anila Ali has twice been elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention. She represented the 45th Congressional District at the 2012 and 2016 conventions. She was the first Pakistani and first Muslim to be elected from Orange County.
Fundraiser: Ali has helped raise thousands of dollars for national and local candidates. In 2007, Ali helped mobilize the community of Irvine and Orange County in support of Barack Obama and Sukhee Kang, who became the first Asian Pacific American mayor of Irvine. In 2016, Ali raised thousands of dollars for Hillary Clinton.
Centrist Voice: Ali remains active in local and national politics, advocating for a strong centrist platform within the Democratic Party. She works to ensure that the Democratic Party avoid following the radical path of the UK’s Labour Party, which has too often betrayed its core values by tolerating intolerance. In 2014, Ali was a candidate for District 74 of the California State Assembly and received endorsements from the National Women’s Political Caucus and the California Labor Federation.
Women’s Leadership: In 2009, Anila Ali co-founded AMWEC, organizing the group’s inaugural leadership conference with hundreds of Muslim women in attendance. She recruited a core leadership team of successful South Asian women, who had encountered post 9-11 discrimination and felt under-represented by the existing male-dominated Muslim civic groups. AMWEC is an IRS certified 501c3 non-profit organization.
AMWEC Mission: AMWEC takes on the challenge of external and internal bigotry by empowering Muslim women on the frontlines. Inspired by their own journeys as immigrants who have prospered in America, AMWEC’s women leaders unite to: strengthen their community, confront bigotry in all its forms, celebrate cultural heritage, and build enduring bonds with fellow Americans of all faiths.
Community Impact: AMWEC launched America’s first internship to encourage young Muslim women to explore law enforcement careers; several female officers serving today are graduates of the program. AMWEC’s informal community helpline offers guidance and assistance to women in need (facing domestic abuse, internal or external bigotry, etc.). AMWEC runs an annual interfaith Ramadan iftar bringing together Muslims, Jews, Christians, Bahais, and Hindus.
Helping Disadvantaged Students in Pakistan: Anila Ali co-founded CalPak to provide quality education to disadvantaged children in remote areas of Pakistan’s Sindh Province. Anila grew up in the region, where both Hindu and Muslim children live in poverty. Child marriage and gender discrimination prevent many girls from attending school. A 501c3 non-profit, CalPak works to ensure that all children in the region receive 12 years of quality education.
Project Inspired by Students in Slums: “When I entered the school [in Pakistan] with my team of educators, we saw an empty building with a few boys serving biryani to the teachers and a few girls sweeping the school floors. Desks, chairs, windows were all broken. Just then the little girl who was sweeping ran up to me and asked me if I was a teacher. I told her I was a teacher but I teach in America. ‘Aunty,’ she grabbed my arm, ‘Please, please, don’t go. The headmaster beats us and watches us in the bathrooms. He even beats the boys.’ That was the moment I made a promise to the little girl.”
Creating Powerful Educational Opportunities: CalPak has formally adopted several local schools (e.g., the Qurtaba Primary School) by providing curricula, uniforms, supplies, and screening to ensure quality teachers are hired so students are safe. Thanks to CalPak, California Southern University offers online certificates for students in Pakistan that are accredited in the US. CalPak also brokered a partnership between California Southern University and Pakistan’s Iqra University.