Born on July 24, 1976, in Detroit, Rashida Harbi is the eldest among her 14 siblings, hailing from a working-class Palestinian immigrant family. Her mother originated from Beit Ur El Foka near Ramallah, West Bank, while her father was born in Beit Hanina, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The name “Rashida” carries the meaning of “righteous.”
Her father initially moved to Nicaragua before settling in Detroit, where he worked on a Ford Motor Company assembly line. Being the eldest, Tlaib took on the responsibility of helping raise her siblings while her parents were at work, including her sister Layla Elabed.
Rashida’s educational journey started at Harms, Bennett Elementary, and Phoenix Academy for elementary school. She graduated from Southwestern High School in Detroit in 1994. Later, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Wayne State University in 1998 and a Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2004. In 2007, Tlaib was admitted to the bar in the state of Michigan.
Today, Rashida Tlaib is known as an American politician and lawyer, serving as the U.S. representative for Michigan’s 12th congressional district. Notably, she made history as the first Palestinian American woman to hold a seat in Congress and one of the first two Muslim women elected to the U.S. Congress.