Person

Faiz Shakir

Occupation:

National Political Director, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Campaign Manager, Bernie Sanders for President

Faiz Shakir is a Democratic political operative and left-progressive organizer who is the campaign manager for the 2020 Presidential Campaign of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Shakir is among the most influential political operatives on the left, having held high ranking positions with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). After the 2016 presidential election, Shakir led protests through the ACLU opposing the immigration policies of President Donald Trump.

Shakir is a practicing Muslim and has been called “the most powerful” Muslim in Democratic politics. [1]

Background

Shakir was born and raised in Florida to Pakistani immigrant parents. He attended Harvard University as an undergraduate and gravitated towards progressive organizing. While a student at Harvard in 2000, Shalkir was co-chair of “Islam Awareness Week”; part of the event which Shakir denied attending, raised money for the Holy Land Foundation, a group later shut down by the federal government for sending money to Hamas. The event caused many to criticize Shakir later in his career. [2]

After college, Shakir worked as a junior researcher for then U.S. Senator John Kerry’s Presidential campaign, where he was involved in the response to Republican criticism of Kerry’s war record. Shakir also worked as a legislative aide to former U.S. Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and in the communications department at the Obama administration’s White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. [3]

ThinkProgress

Shakir gained notoriety in the progressive movement as a writer for ThinkProgress, the publication and news arm of the large left-leaning think tank the Center for American Progress. Shakir joined ThinkProgress in 2005, eventually becoming editor-in-chief. [4]

Democratic Leadership

In 2012, then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hired Shakir from ThinkProgress. He worked as head of online engagement and new media in Pelosi’s office. [5]

Shakir then served under Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid as a senior advisor, and was credited with moving Reid’s policy positions further to the left in order to appeal more to the Democratic base in his final term in the Senate. [6] Shakir handled policy, communications, and outreach for key Democratic constituency groups for Reid. [7]

ACLU

Following Reid’s retirement from the Senate, Shakir joined the American Civil Liberties Union as national political director. Shakir helped push the ACLU into a left-of-center mobilization powerhouse in opposition to the immigration policies of the Trump administration. [8]

Sanders Campaign

Shakir informally advised U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign for President in 2016; while working on Capitol Hill, Shakir was chided in emails from John Podesta released by WikiLeaks for advising the Sanders Campaign in 2016. [9]

In February 2019, Sanders announced that Shakir would serve as his campaign manager in the 2020 Presidential race, making him the first Muslim campaign manager for a major Presidential campaign. [10]

References

  1. Malloy, Daniel. “THE ‘ROCK STAR’ ACTIVIST LEADING THE RESISTANCE”. OZY. August 1, 2017. Accessed November 22, 2019. https://www.ozy.com/rising-stars/the-rock-star-activist-leading-the-resistance/79468/ ^
  2. Malloy, Daniel. “THE ‘ROCK STAR’ ACTIVIST LEADING THE RESISTANCE”. OZY. August 1, 2017. Accessed November 22, 2019. https://www.ozy.com/rising-stars/the-rock-star-activist-leading-the-resistance/79468/ ^
  3. “Faiz Shakir”. Center for American Progress. Accessed November 22, 2019. https://web.archive.org/web/20110624134741/http://www.americanprogress.org/experts/ShakirFaiz.html ^
  4. “Faiz Shakir”. Center for American Progress. Accessed November 22, 2019. https://web.archive.org/web/20110624134741/http://www.americanprogress.org/experts/ShakirFaiz.htmlhttps://web.archive.org/web/20110624134741/http://www.americanprogress.org/experts/ShakirFaiz.html ^
  5. Stein, Sam. “Nancy Pelosi Hires Think Progress’ Faiz Shakir As Director Of New Media”. Huffington Post. May 8, 2012. Accessed November 22, 2019. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/nancy-pelosi-online-director-faiz-shakir-_n_1500180 ^
  6. Malloy, Daniel. “THE ‘ROCK STAR’ ACTIVIST LEADING THE RESISTANCE”. OZY. August 1, 2017. Accessed November 22, 2019. https://www.ozy.com/rising-stars/the-rock-star-activist-leading-the-resistance/79468/ ^
  7. Dutt, Ela. “Rivals On The Same Side Of The Aisle” India Times. April 19, 2019. Accessed November 22, 2019. http://www.newsindiatimes.com/rivals-on-the-same-side-of-the-aisle/ ^
  8. Brustein, Joshua. “The ACLU Wants to Be the NRA, Without All the Guns”. Bloomberg. November 8, 2017. Accessed November 22, 2019. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-11-08/the-aclu-wants-to-be-the-nra-without-all-the-guns ^
  9. Resnick, Gideon. “Bernie Sanders Hires Top Progressive Advocate, Faiz Shakir, as Campaign Manager”. The Daily Beast. February 19, 2019. Accessed November 22, 2019. https://www.thedailybeast.com/bernie-sanders-hires-top-civil-liberties-advocate-faiz-shakir-as-campaign-manager ^
  10. Resnick, Gideon. “Bernie Sanders Hires Top Progressive Advocate, Faiz Shakir, as Campaign Manager”. The Daily Beast. February 19, 2019. Accessed November 22, 2019https://www.thedailybeast.com/bernie-sanders-hires-top-civil-liberties-advocate-faiz-shakir-as-campaign-manager ^
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