Zahra Karinshak wins Georgia State Senate District 48.

She was born Zahra Sheikholeslam, the daughter of a Persian father and an American mother, and grew up in LaFayette in the wake of the Iranian hostage crisis. Her father, she says, was a curiosity in the small town, where folks would drop in on Saturdays to invite the Sheikholeslams to church. “We didn’t get called names or anything, the way some people did,” she says. “People stood up for us; they protected us. They accepted my dad; and they had intellectual and religious conversations with him that you would never expect in small-town Georgia. That’s the beauty of a small town, which I didn’t always appreciate when I was young. But then I got out and saw what it was like in other places. And I appreciate it now.”