My name is Mark Ali. I’m a father, husband, and an immigrant from Suriname (Guyanese born). With your support, I will be the next Representative of South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District.
I am proud to have worked my way into living the American Dream. My ultimate goal is to ensure that each American citizen has the opportunity to do so as well. I am running for Congress so that all South Carolinians will have the same opportunity. Our children are inheriting a world more dangerous, more difficult, and more inequitable than ever before. Working class families like mine are on the decline, often living paycheck to paycheck. We are one emergency – car breakdown, roof repair, hospital visit – from falling permanently behind. This is not the America that I came to love and adore.
I came to America when I was 18 years old with a new vision for my future, and a mustard size seed of hope. I had no plans, no special talents or money upon arrival. The only certainty was that I had to depart Suriname in order to provide a better and brighter future for myself and my family. As an undocumented immigrant, I never took any opportunities for granted – I hustled! I worked odd jobs in New York City. I worked long hours for low pay and no benefits. I worked as a stable boy, washed dishes, became a cook, and then moved up to head cook. I learned rather quickly that moving up doesn’t directly always correlate with how hard you are willing to work. I went back to school to obtain my G.E.D., found a job with the City, and worked full-time through college while earning a degree in paralegal studies. To be honest, the hard work gauge keeps moving upwards, while compensation moves downwards. I carried this lesson with me throughout the years, and have noticed how much of a lingering problem it has become.