Ayesha Ghazi Edwin is proud to say she grew up in Ann Arbor.
Ghazi Edwin and her family immigrated to Ann Arbor from England when she was three years old. Her parents began working at the University of Michigan and she attended school at Ann Arbor Steam while they were living in family housing.
Years later they moved to the north side of town and she attended Logan Elementary, Clague Middle School and Huron High School
“Growing up in Ann Arbor is really exceptional and I didn’t realize how unique of a city we were until I moved away,” Ghazi Edwin said. “One of the things I really loved about what was happening in Ann Arbor, especially in the local school system is how much they celebrate diversity.
She recalled feeling proud of her Indian heritage during international fairs her school would have and looking forward to bringing a dish from her culture to share with classmates.
“There was just something about the way that Ann Arbor was kind of unapologetic and being inclusive, that makes people who have different identities feel safe.” Ghazi Edwin said.
After graduating high school, Ghazi Edwin studied at Albion college but moved back to Ann Arbor once she graduated. Other than her time at Albion and a couple of years she spent living in the Detroit area, Ghazi Edwin has remained in Ann Arbor.
When she had her first son, she knew she wanted to raise him in Ann Arbor so that he grew up in an environment where everyone belongs.
Since 2020, Ghazi Edwin and her husband Michael have been raising their two sons in their first home together on the southeast side of Ann Arbor in the Turnberry Neighborhood.
Ghazi Edwin’s educational background is in political science and social work. She majored in both at Albion University and earned her Masters in Social Work with a focus on Social Policy and Evaluation at the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
She currently serves as deputy director (helping with policy) at Detroit Disability Power and also as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
Ghazi Edwin is also an Ann Arbor Human Rights Commissioner and Governor Whitmer appointed chair of the Michigan Asian Pacific American affairs commission (MAPAAC).
“I think one of the biggest issues is we have an overall lack of affordable housing,” Ghazi Edwin said.
She said it was difficult for her and her husband to afford moving back to Ann Arbor, and this is an issue that is consistent with other social workers and essential workers that she knows.
“I think we are losing people that really make Ann Arbor great,” Ghazi Edwin said. “It’s an issue when people who work at your grocery store or artists and musicians can’t afford to live here, that’s created a workforce shortage for our local businesses.
Currently 80% of our workforce are commuters. These are people who are living, spending their tax dollars, and voting somewhere else. There is a social, political, and economic consequence to this.”
Ghazi Edwin is a progressive Democrat, running for City Council for Ward 3, and other issues that inspired her to run for office include racial equity, creating more inclusive housing policies, LGBTQ rights and continueing her fight against climate change.
“I really see us [Ann Arbor] as being able to be a leader among cities in the nation of modeling what a progressive and equitable city looks like by creating innovative policy solutions to real problems,” Ghazi Edwin said. “We are one of the smartest cities in the nation – we can help to create solutions to the issues we face.”
Ghazi Edwin said she hopes housing in Ann Arbor grows to be an affordable place for her and her husband to retire to as well as a realistic option for her sons to live once they grow up regardless of their chosen profession.
All five wards will have races for City Council and Mayor this year. Candidates may file up until April 19, with the primary on August 2, and the election being held November 8.