A night of firsts: Awal election inspires students at UMD

Azrin Awal campaign sign.
Azrin Awal campaign sign.(KBJR)
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 12:21 AM CDT|Updated: Nov. 4, 2021 at 12:26 AM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (CBS 3) -When Azrin Awal first came to Duluth, she was a student at UMD.

She’s the first in her family to attend college in the United States.

On election night, she earned many more firsts.

“I hold a lot of diverse identities, right? We talk about me being the first Muslim, or the first Asian American, or the third woman of color. But all of my identities combined make who I am. Me,” said Azrin Awal, Duluth City Councilor Elect.

Awal said the combination of her identities gives her unique insight into how to lead.

“My life experiences that come along with those identities allow me to be more empathetic, understanding, and really harness my advocacy,” said Awal.

Her background as an immigrant who worked to put herself through school is already resonating with students at UMD.

“I’m also the first person in my family to go to college,” said Halimatou Hamadou, a student at UMD.

For some students, simply seeing Awal campaigning was enough to inspire.

“It’s really inspirational and motivating to see someone with a familiar face being represented in the Duluth community,” said Hamadou.

Awal has a message for students who may be struggling like she once did.

“Be your authentic self. Recognize what your values are and how you show up in your community, and continue to persevere,” said Awal.

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