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Meet Ilyas Abukar, WSLC’s Legislative Intern for 2020

OLYMPIA (Jan. 14, 2020) — Meet Ilyas Abukar, the Washington State Labor Council’s Legislative Intern for the 2020 session that began Monday.

Ilyas and his family arrived in the United States as immigrants from Somalia when he was just 8 years old. Growing up, he watched as his parents and relatives worked in dangerous environments in their struggle to put food on the table. After earning his B.A. from Pennsylvania State University, Ilyas went to graduate school to study social inequality. He is a doctoral candidate in American Studies at the University of Maryland, researching and writing his dissertation on race and refugee (re)settlements.

“I am looking forward to working with the WSLC and its affiliated unions because I believe in their shared commitment to advocating for working families,” Abukar said. He added:

“I grew up in Northwest Pennsylvania as a member of my small working-class city’s vibrant African immigrant/refugee population. During my childhood, I witnessed the ways in which many people from my community, who lacked access to a formal education and faced other structural barriers around citizenship, were forced to endure predatory practices at work and were categorically denied pathways to advancement. I went to graduate school because I wanted to study the intersections of social inequality, race, labor, and immigration in order to shine a light on these problems. I see my work at WSLC as a continuation of my education in public policy and an invaluable opportunity to learn more about the issues that directly impact families such as my own and others living in marginalized conditions.”

As the WSLC’s Legislative Intern, Ilyas will help develop and coordinate legislative advocacy for Washington working families.

“We are very excited to have Ilyas joining us for the 2020 legislative session,” said WSLC Government Affairs Director Joe Kendo. “His analytical skills are top notch, and his commitment to intersectional justice is inspiring. The application of his social to parallel policy in front of our Legislature will benefit Washingtonians across the state.”

When you see Ilyas this session at the State Capitol, please welcome him to the WSLC family!

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