At the age of 19, Dafiq decided to dedicate himself to the improvement of his community, Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Atlantic City is world renowned for its opulent gambling casinos, sandy beaches and glittering nightlife. But that is the Atlantic City that tourists know and flock too.
Those who live there, those who lives outside of the city’s network of casino causeways and hotels know a different Atlantic City. They know an Atlantic City riddled with crime and infested with poverty and government corruption, low unemployment and lots of despair.
That is the Atlantic City that Dafiq Rasheed grew up in and knew.
Yet by the age of nineteen one newspaper named him one of the forty most promising people under the age of forty.
Despite the despair that surrounded him, he still kept hope alive and maintained a positive outlook that enabled him to study hard, dream big and strive to improve the condition of his fellow man.
So much so, that he dedicated himself to the trials and tribulations that come with campaigning for elected office. At just nineteen years old Dafiq decided to challenge a fellow Democrat in a primary for a seat on the Atlantic City city council .
On Primary Day, June 2nd of this year, Dafiq Rasheed lost his primary bid but he won the respect of any and all his peers. He also demonstrated to many young persons that they too can make a difference and that they too can live a life that makes a difference to others despite their current circumstances.
But on Saturday night, June 27th, Dafiq died. He drowned in an accident in Galloway Township, a neighboring shore community to Atlantic City.
The loss of this productive young man is indeed significant. For a person of his age to have a level of awareness and social consciousness that compels him to sacrifice his time and energy for a cause greater than self by running for elected office is indeed rare and undoubtedly inspirational and commendable. To lose such a person creates a profound void in our society that can never be filled.
Even if you did not know Dafiq Rasheed, his loss is profound. He was the type of person who gave more to society than he got from society. He was the type of person whose existence only added to our own.
My deepest and sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends whose own lives were enriched by his.
May he rest proudly and peacefully and may his example be forever emulated by his peers and always appreciated by those of us who share in his hopes to leave behind a better life than the one he had.
Below you will find a video that Dafiq prepared for his city council election