My name is Arshi Shahzad. I was born in Tolland County, Connecticut, but raised in Karachi, Pakistan. In 1998, I moved back to the U.S. and have called San Diego home ever since. For the past 13 years, I have successfully run my own web development and graphic design company, Arshi Creative Studio, LLC.

Since 2015, I have served as the Vice President of the Pakistani American Association of San Diego (PAASAND), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Pakistani culture, heritage, and community engagement and services. I brought PAASAND to life by creating eye-catching visual graphics to help spread our message and engage with our audience on social media. Because I am well-known and respected in the Pakistani community, and because I care deeply and genuinely about our cause, I have been very successful in raising funds to support our events.

I ran for the California State Assembly in 2022, and believe strongly in the power of our democratic freedom of assembly, association, property rights, freedom of religion and speech, inclusiveness, and equality. Even though I didn’t win, I had the opportunity to engage with others, and I realized there is a growing population of voices that remain unaccounted for. If we want to raise a new generation of leaders, we cannot afford to ignore the important conversations around race, racism, injustice, and inequality.

As parents, we need to check in with our children to discover what they already know, what they’ve seen/heard, and what they think about it all. If necessary, we need to be willing to do the work of deconstructing and reconstructing. My number one principle in life is to give more than I take.

I love this quote from President Obama: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.