I’m Burhan Azeem – a City Council candidate. I wanted to take this chance to share my story.

I was born in Multan, Pakistan. When I was 4 years old, in a one-in-10,000 chance, my family and I won a visa lottery to the United States. We came here wide-eyed.

What followed was not as kind. Family friends had to take us in. Their apartment was a small three-bedroom that needed to fit 11 of us. It was a life in the type of poverty we don’t talk about anymore.

Once, as a kid, my baby sister got a really high fever. My mom took her to the hospital before work, and the nurse checked up on her and told my mom to wait for the doctor. My mom waited, but it took so long that – knowing she needed to get to work on time or she’d get fired – she left. On her way to work, the hospital called, saying if she didn’t come back they’d call the police. At that time we were lucky: We had Medicaid, and my parents both had jobs. It was still so hard.

It is due to pure luck and generosity that I am here, and I will never forget that. And I have worked to give back to my community in every way I can. I have run blood drives, worked as an EMT and volunteered at the local prison. I hope I can continue my service as your next city councillor.

Burhan Azeem, candidate for City Council