Nonprofit New American Leaders trains people of immigrant heritage to be public servants
New American Leaders trained 170 people in Michigan over the years, with 24 who took the training serving in office.
New American Leaders is a nonprofit organization that aims to train immigrants, first and second-generation people to run for office.
Ghida Dagher, CEO and president of New American Leaders, says it’s important to empower people to serve diverse communities.
“New American Leaders is the only national organization that’s dedicated to training and empowering new Americans so that they are flexing that political muscle — they’re running for office, managing campaigns and really pursuing that life in public service that really benefits all of us in our democracy overall,” Dagher says.
Dagher was born in Sierra Leone in West Africa and is 100% Lebanese. She moved to the U.S. when she was almost 10 years old as a third-generation Sierra Leonean.
“We come from a line of immigrants from place to place and my family resulted here because of civil war in Sierra Leone,” Dagher shares. “This immigrant experience really has shaped who I am as a person down to my core.”
That experience is what led Dagher to public service work. She is the former director of appointments for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
New American Leaders aims to work with people who may not have considered running for office to become representatives in government — from sitting on library boards to running for Congress.
“Our country is becoming younger, it is becoming more diverse, and our leadership needs to reflect that change. At every level of government,” Dagher says.
New American Leaders trained 170 people in Michigan over the years, with 24 who took the training serving in office. In February, the nonprofit educated potential civic leaders on how to manage a campaign, fundraise and build a base.
“We need you to step up and to take leadership in your own community,” says Dagher.
More training sessions in Michigan are expected to be held in the near future.
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