Another Georgia History Maker

By Rick Blalock
ATLANTA, Ga. – A new chapter in the history book of Fulton County began on Mon., Jan. 4, 2021, when Atlanta resident and businesswoman Khadijah Abdur-Rahman was sworn into office as the next Fulton County Commissioner. 

Abdur-Rahman, a mother of three adult children, becomes the first ever Muslim woman elected in Georgia, and will represent District 6 which covers Southwest Atlanta and communities and cities in Southern Fulton County.  

Voters overwhelmingly chose Abdur-Rahman to succeed Commissioner Emma I. Darnell, who died in office in May 2019. After a record-setting win in the June 2020 Democratic Primary, by 16 points, Abdur-Rahman won the Nov. 3 General Election unopposed. 

“I plan to work cooperatively with everyone to achieve our mutual goals,” said Abdur-Rahman after taking the oath in the Clerk to the Commission’s Office on the 10th Floor of the Government Center. “Emma Darnell was my mentor and I fully expect that we will continue to fight for the least of these, for equal opportunity, fairness, justice and freedom.”

The ceremonial oath of office was administered Thurs., Jan. 7, at 10 a.m., during the Fulton County Inauguration (via live stream) from Assembly Hall in the Government Center Building. Due to Covid-19 protocols public participation was limited and the public was advised to watch the ceremony virtually on Fulton County’s website and Facebook page.

IN PROFILE: Abdur-Rahman is the Fulton County Commissioner for District 6, popularly known as “The Mighty6” commission district. “Commissioner Khadijah,” a business owner and community advocate, was elected overwhelmingly by the people of Southwest Atlanta and the communities in South Fulton County in November 2020. 

She secured the seat after a record-setting victory in the June 2020 Democratic Primary – winning by 16 points. Upon taking office in January 2021, Khadijah filled the post of her mentor, the late Commissioner Emma I. Darnell, who held the seat for nearly 30 years before dying in office in May 2019.

Khadijah’s priorities include public safety and criminal justice reform including reducing juvenile delinquency;  senior services and youth programs; environmental justice; public health; economic development and entrepreneurism; and arts and cultural programming. 

A community leader for years, Khadijah serves on the board of directors of Atlanta Legal Aid Society; is fundraising chairperson at Humanitarian Relief Inc., a faith-based program that feeds homeless and needy persons; is past board member of the Fulton County Council on Aging; and has been a longtime volunteer with the C.T. Martin Youth Fest.

  In addition to her nonprofit volunteer service, Commissioner Khadijah has been a strong voice for social and economic justice. She has led boycotts of merchants who have mistreated members of the African-American community; resulting in forcing merchants to provide safe, clean and healthy establishments that rely on the hard-earned dollars of consumers from minority communities. 

Commissioner Khadijah, the baby of six children to her late parents, James and Victoria Travis Jackson, is a native of Southwest Atlanta. Her mother and father, entrepreneurs in their own right, raised Khadijah in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. 

They were the first African Americans to purchase a home in the Peyton Chalet community after the removal of the “Peyton Wall.” The wall was a three-foot barricade along Peyton Road, built in 1962, to dissuade Black people from moving into the Cascade Heights neighborhood. It was removed in 1963 after protests by African American leaders and civil rights groups.

Khadijah is a proud graduate of Atlanta Public Schools: she attended Peyton Forest Elementary, Southwest Atlanta High and Benjamin E. Mays High. She was named a Jeanette Rankin scholar; an EMERGE scholar; and received the KAGRO International scholarship. 

The commissioner earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Degree at the Ambassador Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and is pursuing a J.D. degree at Florida Coastal School of Law.

A fourth-generation family member of Big Bethel AME Church, Khadijah (formerly Beverly Jackson) converted to Islam in her twenties and practices her faith at Masjid Al-Muminun in Atlanta, led by Imam Furqan A. Muhammad. 

Formerly married, Khadijah is the mother of two adult daughters Maleka and Madinah, and her son, Mustafaa Al-Uqdah serves in the U.S. Navy. 

A believer in entrepreneurism and job creation, Khadijah followed in her parents’ footsteps, and owns and operates Jakar LLC. Her company provides good-paying jobs while offering customers tech- sales- and customer service-support to medium- and small-sized businesses. 

When not creating jobs, or fighting for the least of those in need, Commissioner Khadijah enjoys sewing; gardening; baking and cooking; and bowling – a passionate hobby. She has even bowled a three-hundred game and been a part of competitive bowling leagues! 

In the community (and during her campaign) constituents noticed that Khadijah always toted some purple-colored boxing gloves. The commissioner says those symbolize what Commissioner Darnell always called Khadijah: “a community fighter.” 

Commissioner Khadijah says it all stemmed from her witnessing (as a child) her mother being a fighter, too. Particularly, watching her mother get arrested at a school board meeting when black parents protested disparities in new-books distribution among black and white schools by the Atlanta Board of Education. 

The boxing gloves represent the continuation of that fight for justice — a fight that never ends.

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