Sameena Mustafa is a native Chicagoan who was inspired to run for office after the 2016 election. Endorsed by the Justice Democrats, she ran a 100% grassroots-funded campaign as a first-time candidate for U.S. Congress in IL’s 5th District. She was the only Asian and Muslim woman running at the federal level in Illinois in 2018. A 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. She currently serves on the advisory boards of State Matters and Chicago Women’s Health Center and the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters Chicago.
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.