As a Congresswoman, Zerqa will work across the aisle to support policies that:
Create tougher laws on access to guns and universal background checks
Provide adequate investment in youth programs and spaces to keep children off the streets
Provide adequate investment in police trainings and resources
Reward law enforcement officers and agencies that protect and empower children and families of color
Hold police officers accountable for using excessive force against civilians
Provide adequate incentives for cities to create collaborative models of communities and law enforcement working together
Zerqa has dedicated her life to protecting children from all types of violence. Gangs and gun violence is on the top of that list due to its prevalence in the Hilltop area of US District 15. She is undoubtedly the most vocal and prominent advocate for social justice and equity for the Hilltop youth on the westside of Columbus. She fiercely and fearlessly advocates for more funding to address poverty, hunger, unemployment and gun/gang violence in the district. She has seen the impact of trauma and mental health issues first hand as she deals with children and adult survivors of gun/gang violence.
Zerqa believes that cost-effective preventive programs are essential. She has successfully created innovative programs to curb the pipeline to gangs, guns and violence. While she is against putting minors in jail, she has also seen unfortunate cases of minors that must be taken away from their neighborhoods and helped by professionals until it is safe to return them to their homes.
When it comes to police and communities of color, the nation is divided into two extremes and it has created a serious crisis all over the country. In order to address the crimes and create safe neighborhoods, police and communities of color must work together.
Zerqa is an alumni of the Hilliard Citizens Police Academy Class of 2011. She was the first Muslim hijabi woman to attend this academy. Since then, she has worked closely with the police force as an ally and has seen the positive impact of it in the most violent neighborhoods. While she takes the cases of police brutality very seriously, she also praises the police officers who truly care for the community and neighborhoods. She has known and has proudly worked with many of them over the years.
The City of Columbus lists her program as one of the top “Reimagine Public Safety programs”. The Ohio Crime Prevention Association (OCPA) asked her to train other communities about her model. The University of Cincinnati’s Cancer Research Center also invited her in 2022 to train Cincinnati’s youth organizations about her model.