Early Life

Shaniyat— Shan for short,  was born in Queens to working class Bangladeshi parents, who immigrated to the United States in search of the American dream. His father was a waiter and his mother cleaned hotel rooms. 

His family moved several times in search of economic stability and opportunity, and Shan attended public schools across New Jersey and Queens. 

The 2007 financial collapse impacted Shan’s family in a profound way. His father was laid off and later suffered from chronic health problems.  His mother worked overtime cleaning hotel rooms, but was unable to single handedly pay all of the bills for their family. They lost their home in the foreclosure crisis and moved back to Queens to stay with family.  Shaniyat worked a variety of jobs during high school to help his parents stay afloat.

Shan’s childhood experiences mirror those of thousands of people in NY-5.  Watching his parents struggle despite working so hard showed him that the American dream is unachievable for so many because of systemic inequality.  

After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps for six years, before attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice, earning a degree in Law and Society.  

He is a resident of NYCHA in South Jamaica where he is a member of the Resident Green Committee.


Shan served in the US Marine Corps for six years, working as a Field Radio Operator. 

He worked in the office of NYS Assemblymember Latrice Walker as a legislative aide, where he advised the assembly member on policy positions and researched housing, criminal justice reform, and climate change.

Shan has also worked as an educator and organizer.  He spent two years as an Educational Health Director at Queensborough Community College, implementing environmental cleanups and helping students get access to adequate nutrition.

He was inspired by the progressive wave of grassroots activism following the 2016 election and became a staffer on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional campaign. As one of her lead organizers, he knocked on thousands of doors, listening and learning about the most pressing hardships in the lives of Queens and Bronx residents.  

Shan also served as Ocasio-Cortez’s deputy policy director, where he worked on research for the Green New Deal and other progressive legislative proposals.

The variety of his experiences–from grassroots to governmental–made it painfully clear to Shan that his family’s story wasn’t an isolated one.  There are thousands of people all across Queens facing serious challenges like unemployment, housing and food instability, lack of health insurance, and student debt.  

People who, just like his family, have been forgotten by the politicians running our country.  

Shaniyat Chowdhury

A Just World for All of Us

The best way to ensure America becomes a better place is by electing people who truly understand the realities of economic, racial, and social inequality.  NY-5 is a diverse and predominantly Democratic district. But there are two very different kinds of Democrats.

His opponent has been in office for over twenty years. In that time, he has voted to bail out and deregulate Wall Street rather than lift up his constituents from poverty.  He has upheld a system meant to silence working class and working poor families.

He has shown through his actions that his true constituents are big-money donors, Wall Street executives, and luxury real estate developers. Families who have been priced out of their homes, never recovered from the Great Recession, or are struggling to make ends meet despite working longer hours for less benefits were left behind.

Shan believes that Queens and Nassau County deserve better. 

It can only begin with a campaign focused on ethics and integrity.  He pledges to never take lobbyist or corporate PAC money, and to run his campaign on people power.  NY-5 has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country, and this is what the incumbent wants. People stay home because, for so long, our voices haven’t been heard.  Voting has felt like a pointless exercise. But as we know from 2018, there is strength in numbers.

The People at the bottom vastly outnumber the handful of corporate career politicians at the top.  If we come together, we can ensure that every New Yorker leads a life of dignity and opportunity.

When we are not beholden to corporate PACs and lobbyists, when we all stand up and say, ENOUGH, our thousands of votes overpower the influence of corrupt politicians and dark money.  When we all stand up, we can fight for a future that includes a Green New Deal, improved and expanded Medicare-for-All, universal housing rights, and criminal justice reform.  

We have the power to demand just, ethical representatives who fight for our right to live the American Dream, not just line their own pockets.