Ghazala Firdous Hashmi (born July 5, 1964) is an Indian-American politician and former academic administrator and educator. She is the Democratic senator-elect for Virginia's 10th Senate district. Hashmi is the first Muslim woman elected to the Senate of Virginia. She worked as an educator and academic administrator for 25 years before shifting to politics. Hashmi was the founding director of the center for excellence in teaching and learning at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College where she was recognized for improving diversity, inclusion, and multicultural enrichment.
Early life and education
Hashmi was born in Hyderabad in 1964 to Tanveer and Zia Hashmi. She lived at her maternal grandparents home in Malakpet during her childhood. Her maternal grandfather, Raja Sahib Mohiuddin completed a B.A. from Aligarh Muslim University and served as assistant secretary in the finance department of the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Hashmi's paternal grandfather, Mohammed Rauf, had a law degree. Her family moved to the United States in 1969.
Hashmi completed a B.A. in English at Georgia Southern University where she was a member of the honors program. She earned a Ph.D. in English from Emory University on a full scholarship. Her 1992 dissertation was titled William Carlos Williams and the American ground of "In the American Grain" and "Paterson." Hashmi's doctoral advisor was Peter Dowell.
Hashmi was an educator and academic administrator for 25 years. She received awards and medals for diversity, inclusion, and multicultural enrichment as an administrator at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College where she served as the founding director of the center for excellence in teaching and learning. In the 2019 Virginia Senate election, Democrat Hashmi won Virginia's 10th Senate district, defeating incumbent Republican Glen Sturtevant. She is the first Muslim woman elected to the Senate of Virginia.
Hashmi moved to Richmond in 1991 with her husband Azhar Rafiq, an associate professor at VCU School of Medicine. They have two daughters, one of whom completed a masters in public health administration and works in Washington, D.C. As of 2019, her younger daughter is a second year engineering student. Hashmi resides in Midlothian, Virginia. Her father is an academic. He completed a M.A. and LL.B. at Aligarh Muslim University where he served as president of the student union in 1954. He earned a Ph.D. in international relations from University of South Carolina and was the founding director of its center for international studies. Hashmi's mother completed a B.A. and B.Ed. from University College for Women, Koti.
Hashmi's older brother, Sohail H. Hashmi is a professor in Massachusetts. He completed a Ph.D. in international relations at Harvard University. Hashmi's younger sister, Saira Alikhan is a practicing physician at Viera Hospital in Florida.
- Hashmi, Rasia (November 7, 2019). "Senator Ghazala Hashmi is 'deeply attached' to Hyderabad". The Siasat Daily. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
- Budryk, Zack. "Ghazala Hashmi becomes first Muslim woman elected to Virginia's state senate". TheHill. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
- "Indian American Ghazala Hashmi wins Democratic nomination from Virginia's 10th Senate District". The American Bazaar. June 13, 2019. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
- Hashmi, Ghazala Firdous (1992). William Carlos Williams and the American ground of In the American grain and Paterson (Thesis).
- "Diversity and Inclusion at Reynolds: Reynolds Multicultural Enrichment Award". Retrieved November 6, 2019.
- Mirshahi, Dean. "Democrat Ghazala Hashmi wins 10th Senate District race". 8News. Retrieved November 6, 2019.