Hi, I'm Faris
I grew up on a farm in a rural part of Eastern Syria, and some of my first memories include working with my family. I struggled to get access to education in a village without electricity and running water. Then, when I was six years old, my mom, who does not know how to read or write, asked me about my first few days in school, and when I complained, she said something that stuck with me for the rest of my life.
She said, “Education and working hard is your only way to a better life and being able to afford a chair to sit on, instead of this rug.”
I took her advice seriously. I studied hard and eventually made my way to Damascus University. By the time I was in college, the Syrian regime was brutally violating fundamental civil and human rights. That is when I decided to become a political activist. I needed to speak up for those who had been silenced. I was arrested many times, and one by one, my friends were arrested too. After much perseverance, I successfully obtained a Fulbright Scholarship from the U.S. government, which allowed me to leave Syria to study in the United States.
Towards the end of my Fulbright, however, many individuals speaking out had been forcibly disappeared by the Syrian government. I knew my fate would be the same if I returned to Syria, so I applied for and received political asylum in the United States. Subsequently, seven years later, in 2017, I was granted the honor of becoming an American citizen right here in the Garden State. I was sworn in as a U.S. citizen within months of Trump being sworn in as President. It was only a matter of weeks before my family was banned from the country due to
his imposed “Muslim Ban,” and it became clear that my political activism had to continue. I knew then that as soon as I became eligible for public office, I wanted to serve our community and enact change. If elected, I would be the First Arab-American and first Muslim to serve in the New Jersey legislature.
My personal experiences have no doubt shaped my belief in progressive policies. I am unapologetically pro-immigrant, pro-racial, social, economic, and environmental justice. I am running to serve our community because I understand the needs of struggling families. I am also immensely grateful for what this country has given me. I have been able to teach and study at unparalleled institutions, lecturing in Arabic language and literature at Princeton University and studying moral and political philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.
I also met my partner Deanna, a like-minded social-justice activist, and lawyer who has spent over 15 years in the anti-violence movement. Knowing I have the freedom to express my progressive ideas openly, and most importantly, live in a democracy is something I do not take for granted.
But there is still so much we have yet to accomplish. My platform advocates for progressive policies, including hazard pay for frontline workers during the pandemic, better subsidies for childcare, restorative justice alternatives, and eliminating the “party line” on ballots, to name a few.