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Daughter of a Ford autoworker, Rep. Tlaib is true to her roots in standing with striking autoworkers

And she isn’t just saying she supports the workers, either. She’s right there with them:

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[email protected]: We are putting you on notice that we will not back down. Not only did the federal government bail you out, so did @UAW workers (and their families!), and now that you can afford to provide health care and fair wages, you are abandoning them. pic.twitter.com/J0O7fi1wyO

— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) September 16, 2019

Before we dig into the rest of Rep. Tlaib’s interview—which covers detention camps, asylum processes, being a woman of color in politics, and credit score discrimination—let’s go over what is happening with this strike.

The United Automobile Workers union said Sunday that its members at General Motors would walk out by midnight and strike if the automaker didn’t meet its demands. More than 96% of workers voted to authorize the strike. At this point, the strike has begun! It’s the first auto strike in 12 years in the United States. GM has avoided paying federal income taxes for years (thanks to loopholes), reaped bailout benefits, and all the while, its workers are fighting to get by. 

Tlaib nailed the issue when she wrote, “Corporate greed is a disease hurting every part of our country” on Twitter this Sunday. Why should a corporate mammoth flourish while the workers that kept it afloat suffer?

“We have UAW members who work long, hard hours and are still on public assistance,” said Gerald Kariem, director of UAW Region 1D. “It’s shameful.”

It is disappointing but not surprising that Donald Trump has essentially dropped the workers. Remember: Trump won Michigan. He talked up his ability to bring jobs back to the U.S. and rallied against unions. As of Monday, he said he hopes the UAW’s strike against GM is a “quick one” and said he felt sad about the strike. He also vaguely blamed China and Mexico because GM built facilities there before Trump was president.

So, basically, Trump has done nothing.

Rep. Tlaib, along with many 2020 presidential hopefuls, including Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders, is standing with the workers. And as she shared with us in her interview, her passion for people comes from her upbringing. 

Rep. Tlaib’s interview is below:

Question 1: How are we going to close these detention camps and improve the asylum process?

The way we’re gonna improve the asylum process is, let’s follow the current asylum legal process. And we have to close the camps. They’re not only un-American, but they also very much violate international human rights, and for us to really, truly be guided towards the fact that we’re a nation of immigrants, the way to do it is through action and through the fact that we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform—a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrant neighbors that have been among us for years and decades, as well as making sure that anyone that is fleeing oppression, persecution, that this is a safe place, that the United States of America is a safe place that you can come and be treated with love, respect, and human dignity.

Question 2: Many of us have been so inspired by your victory and all of the important work you’ve done since as a Muslim American woman. What lessons do you think women of color can take away from 2018?

So, women of color, I can tell you it’s possible. Every time somebody said it wasn’t impossible, I gotta tell you, I’m proving those that truly believe in the work that you’re doing, that is truly rooted in the community, and that, you know, you can run as you are. Run unapologetically, yourself.

When you do that people love you and are very much connected with you because you’re real and because that, you’re not shying away from everything that makes you who you are. I can tell you, being not only a proud Palestinian American as well as a Muslim, but also just even as a mother, as somebody that is the eldest of 14, the fact that I am a daughter of a UAW worker at Ford Motor Company, the fact that my mom came here pregnant with me as an immigrant from Palestine, all of those things define who I am and define the fact of why I fight so hard for those in my district that live in poverty, that feel very much they haven’t had a seat at the table. All of that is so interconnected.

And so, as a woman of color, if you are you and run as you are, more people will love you for it.

Question 3: You’ve proposed a number of bills addressing credit score discrimination. Why is that so important to you?

Look, nondriving factors shouldn’t be part of how they rate auto insurance. Auto insurance rates in Michigan are the highest in the nation. It is feeding into the cycle of poverty. So many women are paying higher rates than even men, not only in Michigan but across the country. These nondriving factors, from your marital status to your credit score to where you work, you know, a college education, all of those things do not tell me whether or not you are a better driver than someone that isn’t.

So somebody with good credit score but with a DUI, driving under the influence, violation was paying lower rates in auto insurance versus someone that has a decent credit score but a clean driving record. That, to me, alone tells me that nondriving factors [are] discriminatory in itself and that we need to get rid of these practices and that corporations, those that are part of the auto insurance industry need to back off and not treat people differently based on that, based on where they live, based on their income status, based on their marital status or their education levels. And if we do that, then we’ll have fair and more accurate rates for our families and for our residents.

Bonus Question: What advice would you give your teenage self?

I think my teenage self, I can remember even just being a teenager at the time, being the eldest of 14, I did not know that it would shape the person that I am today. But if I could go back and say, Hey, Rashida, I know it’s hard, but this is gonna make you the person that you are, you’re gonna be in the future, and that you’re gonna be this kick-ass United States congressmember that’s not gonna care what people think about you, that is going to be overwhelmingly more caring and more loving because of all the challenges and experiences of being the eldest of 14.

You know, I always tell people I know how to take care of people. I’ve been doing it all my life. My seven brothers and six sisters are so dependent on me, but in many ways, I love that I can share that same kind of experience and what I’ve been able to do with them and help them with my residents.

Want to check out more Making Progress interviews? You can follow along on the Daily Kos YouTube channel, where a new exclusive interview is posted every Tuesday. We’ll also be covering the videos here at Daily Kos. You can check out interviews with Senator Elizabeth Warren, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, and Iowa U.S. House candidate J.D. Scholten.

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