As a fourth-generation native of New Haven, there is no doubt that Shafiq’s roots in New Haven are as strong as they are deep. As a person whose career both in public service and private business is committed to improving the lives of the citizens of New Haven, there is no doubt about the strength of his commitment to the City and the depth of his devotion to the idea that we can build A Better New Haven.
Born and raised in New Haven after graduating from Notre Dame High School, Shafiq earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Administration. A degree he put to use for the people in New Haven as a long-serving member of the police force.
During the 21 years that Shafiq served the people of New Haven on the police force, he became one of the leading national figures in community policing. From his appointment as the New Haven Street Outreach Workers Program, a program aimed at reducing violent crime among youth and young adults, where he presided over an 86% reduction in homicides within five months. To his passionate activism as the founder of Connecticut Retreats [CTRibat,] a multiple award-winning and nationally recognized street outreach program focused on providing mentorship and opportunity for at-risk youth. “I got them at the root. They weren’t hanging out at the Ave because I had them all in my vans.”
In recognition of his achievements in community policing, Shafiq was named New Haven’s 2007 Person of the Year. In addition, his CTRibat program and work in the New Haven Street Outreach Workers Program were both awarded the All-America City Award by the National Civic League. In 2014 he was recognized as one of the 14 most inspirational Muslim men in America. In 2015 the African-American Affairs Commission awarded him “Person of the Year.”
Shafiq was invited to speak at the 2016 Democratic National Convention as an expert on gun violence– where he had the immense honor of being joined on the dais by one of his lifelong inspirations, the great champion of democracy, Representative John Lewis.
As a private citizen, Shafiq’s hard work as an entrepreneur echoed the values and commitment to the citizens of New Haven reflected in his public service.
In 2009 Shafiq founded Eco-Urban Pioneers with a vision– That he could grow a New Haven business that provided life-changing trade jobs for Elm City residents, again devoting much of his focus on New Haven’s most vulnerable residents, at-risk youth, and families trying to thrive under reentry conditions. After fourteen years of blood, sweat, and tears, his humble start-up, born from a personal investment of $25,000, grew to become a $5.5 million business.
Shafiq used his experience as a business owner to develop the Sustainable Urban Job Creation Workshop, where he taught other small businesses and minority contractors how to thrive ethically and hire diversely.
When the unthinkable happened, and the pandemic struck, his company Eco-Urban Pioneers and its 222 employees were on the front line of the pandemic response, ensuring schools could reopen without further delays, even though Shafiq needed to take out a bridge loan to pay his workers out of pocket due to administrative oversights and floundering leadership in the city government failing to pay any wages as contracted for over six months. “I had to be there for my workers. So when the city failed them, I didn’t see it as a choice. I was never going to fail them and fail the students. You do what you promise you will do. It’s just that simple.”
When asked what his most significant accomplishments are, Shafiq’s answer is also just as simple “They are as father, husband, and a grandfather.”
“I am proud that my three grandchildren are the 6th generation of my family in New Haven. I am running for Mayor, so my grandchildren’s grandchildren and yours will be just as proud to call our city home. I’m dug in, and I’m standing with you. Together we will build A Better New Haven.”