Taneeza Islam’s run for Mayor


Photo provided by Young Progressives Club

Islam spoke to LHS students about her campaign at Young Progressives Club on Nov. 3rd, 2021

Anna Anderson, Staff Writer

As the first first-generation Muslim American woman to run for public office in South Dakota, Taneeza Islam announced the start of her mayoral campaign just outside Meldrum Park in Sioux Falls this past October. This site of her announcement is where she originally organized a protest for DACA participants in 2017. Islam’s announcement took place in front of a mural that is meant to represent the town’s growing diversity, the perfect catapult to capture the message for her hope of Sioux Falls’ progressive future. 

As a former immigration lawyer and social justice activist, Islam believes that she is the perfect representative for Sioux Falls’ ever-growing minority population, expressing this by highlighting concerns of the trials she has experienced since moving to the city in 2012. Born to Bangladeshi immigrant parents, she has seen firsthand the struggles and barriers her parents faced while building a life for themselves in her small Michigan hometown.  

“Our city cannot be strong when the divide between those that have access and wealth is growing, while those with the most need in our community are unseen,” said Islam.

Through her passion for unifying the city, she calls on specific examples in our school system where many students do not have the proper representation and resources needed to make their voices heard.

“Today, the Sioux Falls School District is 60% white and 40% kids of color. This is our beautiful future. We need leadership that reflects that, and I am that person,” said Islam. 

With her experience of facing financial and racial inequalities, she has founded her own non-profit organizations, South Dakota Voices for Peace and South Dakota Voices for Justice, where she serves as the executive director. 

Issues that Islam would like to address further in our communities include wider access to public services, the surplus of food deserts in our city as well as creating an emphasis on the responsibility that the local government has on sustaining a safe community. 

As the April 2022 mayoral election is quickly approaching, Islam is going against steep odds as she is campaigning for the Democratic party. Running against current mayor, Paul Tenhaken, Islam remains confident that she will be able to create a large impact on the state’s largest city.