MEET FATMATA

I was born in Sierra Leone and moved to the US when I was 11 years old. I grew up in South Florida.  I graduated from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University with a Bachelors in Psychology and with a law degree from University of Florida. I have been a practicing attorney for almost 20 years. 

I moved to White Oak almost 20 years ago. East County  is home. In those 20 years, I have been a staunch advocate for civil rights, especially as it relates to special education, criminal justice, the youth, women and immigrant rights. 

 

This terrible pandemic has taken a toll on all of us and has brought to light the long standing inequities and disparities in our County; from loss of learning for our children, particularly special education students and students of color, to economic, health, social and criminal justice disparities, like police brutality. 

 

In the last 3 years we have had 5 police involved shootings of Montgomery County residents. At least three of those were Black men but yet Black people make up only 19% of the population. Two of them happened just a few minutes from my home. This is unacceptable. There are better ways of dealing with these situations and we are challenged with instituting them for the benefit of this community. We will no longer stand by.

 

Then, we must face our economic obstacles. Did you know that our county’s median household income is $110,389? Great, right? But here is the problem: White households earn $141,454 annually, Asians $121,000; Hispanic, $75,547; and Black households earn $72,617 annually. This disparity is jarring and is unacceptable. We cannot know these facts and do nothing to rectify this issue.  We will no longer standby.

 

As well, our students need our attention.  Many of our children have checked out during this pandemic.  We know that majority of those negatively impacted are Black and Brown children, poor children and children with special needs. We also know that we already had severe disparities even before the pandemic. 

 

Over 80% of poor students, 75% of black, Latinx elementary school students and English language learners, attend high poverty schools. This is completely unacceptable. We will work to solve this issue because we will no longer standby.

As a woman who is  Black, an African immigrant and a Muslim, I understand the effect of these disparities and I intend to alleviate them for you. We need to enforce the police reforms that were passed by the council. We need services in place that target our students. We need job creation, and support for our small businesses. We also need to not just have serious, honest and uncomfortable conversations about the disparities, we need to proactively implement programming to dismantle these disparities. No longer will we watch and wait for change.  We will no longer standby. 

 

I am running for county council to fight for you and to champion your needs. As a special education and immigration attorney, advocate and community activist, I am committed to fighting for you and your family. We deserve better and I will fight for us to  have better. We will  address the disparities and the loss of economic stability that has affected me, you and many of our neighbors. 

My plan to improve our quality of life in Montgomery county will not  take us back to life  before the pandemic but to an improved quality of life because life before the pandemic was not much better for many of us. Our front line workers need help. Our blue collar workers need help. Our neighbors need help.  I promise to work to provide that help. I am not  afraid to fight for you. 

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