Ruwa Romman has been elected into the Georgia House of Representatives, District 97.
CNN  — 

Ruwa Romman remembers the sadness she felt as an 8-year-old girl sitting in the back of a school bus watching classmates point to her house and erupt in vicious laughter.

“There’s the bomb lab,” they jeered in yet another attempt to brand her family as terrorists.

On Tuesday, the same girl – now a 29-year-old community organizer – made history as the first known Muslim woman elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, and the first Palestinian American elected to any office in the state.

After 10 months of relentless campaigning, the Democrat said she is eager to begin representing the people of District 97, which includes Berkeley Lake, and parts of Duluth, Norcross, and Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett County.

As an immigrant, the granddaughter of Palestinian refugees, and a Muslim woman who wears the hijab, or Islamic headscarf, the road to political office hasn’t been easy, especially in the very Christian and conservative South.

“I could write chapters about what I have gone through,” Romman told CNN, listing the many ways she’s faced bigotry or discrimination.

“All the times I am ‘randomly’ selected by TSA, teachers putting me in a position where I had to defend Islam and Muslims to classrooms being taught the wrong things about me and my identity… it colored my entire life.”

But those hardships only fueled her passion for civic engagement, especially among marginalized communities, Romman said.

“Who I am has really taught me to look for the most marginalized because they are the ones who don’t have resources or time to spend in the halls of political institutions to ask for the help they need,” she said.

Romman began in 2015 working with the Georgia Muslim Voter Project to increase voter turnout among local Muslim Americans. She also helped establish the state chapter for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.

Soon after, Romman began working with the wider community. Her website boasts: “Ruwa has volunteered in every election cycle since 2014 to help flip Georgia blue.”

She said her main focus is “putting public service back into politics,” which she intends to do by helping expand access to health care, bridging the economic opportunity gap, protecting the right to vote, and making sure people have access to lifesaving care like abortion.

“I think a lot of people overlook state legislators because they think they’re local and don’t have a lot of impact, not realizing that state legislatures have the most direct impact on them,” Romman said. “Every law that made us mad or happy started in the state legislature somewhere.”

‘We are real people with real dreams’

Romman said she always wanted to influence the political process, but never thought she’d be a politician.

The decision to run for office came after attending a Georgia Muslim Voter Project training session for women from historically marginalized communities, where a journalist covering the event asked if she wanted to run for office.

“I told her no, I don’t think so, and she ended up writing a beautiful piece about Muslim women in Georgia, but she started it with ‘Ruwa Romman is contemplating a run for office,