The Public Leaders for Inclusion Council (PLC) has selected Portland At-Large City Councilman Pious Ali and Lewiston City Councilor Safiya Khalid to participate in the second annual Public Leaders for Inclusion Council cohort, a program of America Indivisible.

America Indivisible is a non-partisan, non-profit coalition effort to address rising bigotry against members of Muslim communities and those who appear to be Muslim from Black, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian American communities by reinforcing the American values of equality, pluralism, and strength through diversity.

The Public Leaders for Inclusion Council is a national initiative that convenes a select number of civil servants from across the country who have shown a consistent commitment to combating bigotry and building inclusive communities. The initiative provides leadership development training to deepen skills and knowledge on addressing Islamophobia and its impacts on Muslim, Black, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian American communities.

Councilman Pious Ali is the first African-born Muslim American to be elected to a public office in Maine, becoming a member of the Portland City’s elected Board of Public Education in 2013 and the City Council in 2016. Safiya Khalid is the first elected Somali-American to the Lewiston City Council. They will join thirteen other PLC members from ten other states including Washington, D.C.


“Islam is as old as America. A percentage of the early African slaves in America were Muslims, and yet Islam is one of the most misunderstood religions in America. I think Muslim leaders should work with allies to foster and facilitate relationships with the larger community, using all the tools and resources we have. This program provides some of the tools and alliances needed for that task and I am glad to be part of it,” said Councilman Pious Ali, reached for comment.