Lasting Impact: An Andrew Goodman Alumni Q&A With Usjid Hameed, Towson University

Usjid Hameed served as an Andrew Goodman Ambassador at Towson University, where he studied Political Science and was an editor for the Towson University Journal of International Affairs. In addition, Usjid was the field director for a state delegate campaign during the 2014 election cycle and interned in Congressman John Delaney’s (MD-06) D.C. office. In his junior year, Usjid was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for his Summer 2016 study abroad experience in Jordan. After graduation — for which Usjid was the Spring 2017 Undergraduate Commencement Speaker for the College of Liberal Arts — he continued his participation with The Andrew Goodman Foundation as a member of the inaugural cohort of Puffin Democracy Fellows. Usjid’s fellowship project resulted in a vitally important guide, Expanding the Ballot: Providing Language Assistance to Non-English Proficient Voters Through Multilingual Poll Workers. Usjid has worked at CAIR-Columbus, and most recently went back to school and graduated with his MBA.


How did your time in the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program impact your development as a leader and community member?

My time with The Andrew Goodman Foundation taught me the importance of coalition building when trying to institute change. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if the right people are not convinced that it’s a good idea, it won’t get anywhere. As a leader, I learned that I need to meet people where they are, one-on-one, to have in-depth discussions on my initiative and the problems it seeks to address. Doing so not only informed people about my idea, but it also helped me receive feedback from important stakeholders, which I used to iterate and make my proposed solution even more effective and inclusive.

Tell us about what you’re doing today. How did your time as an Ambassador inform your continuing education, work, or volunteerism?

I recently graduated with my MBA. I leaned on my experiences as an Ambassador to help me start my MBA program’s first ever Muslim affinity group and plan an Interfaith Iftar during Ramadan. I hope to continue making my community more inclusive and open post-MBA.

As an Alumni of our program, how are you continuing to reflect on our story and to carry forward the Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner legacy today?

I always remember that people like Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner paid the ultimate price for the rights and privileges we enjoy today in America. It can be easy to become overwhelmed or cynical with the challenges facing our society today, but I remember that our country has been through much worse. Continuing to be an engaged citizen and voter is the least I can do to honor the efforts and sacrifices of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner.

What advice would you give to our current Ambassadors?

Don’t reinvent the wheel but also be creative! So many college campuses, cities, and states have implemented bold voting policies. Use those policies as inspiration, and then add your twist to make it work for your community. Reaching out to the leaders of previously passed initiatives is a great way to receive guidance on making change and to learn from their past mistakes.


Stay tuned as we continue our Lasting Impact series, featuring alumni of our Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program, what they’re doing today, and how they are still living the legacy.