Fatmata Barrie came to Maryland by way of Florida and Sierra Leone, West Africa. She came to the U.S. at the age of 11. She grew up in Florida where she received her B.S. in Psychology from the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and her J.D. from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law. For the past sixteen years Fatmata has lived in White Oak, MD. She has dedicated her life to the service of her community and have spent most of her adult life as an activist and advocate for the educational rights of children, especially those with special needs. During her 16 years in Montgomery County, she has advocated for immigrant rights and protections, affordable housing, affordable and practical transportation options, economic development that benefits everyone in the community, access to quality education, health benefits and public safety by working with the local police department, the county and the community to hold meetings to promote proper dialogue.
She is a former chair and current executive member of the African Affairs Advisory Group for Montgomery (AAAG) County. As co-chair of the Cultural working group in AAAG, she is a member of the PanAfrican Festival planning committee which produces PanAfest every September to celebrate Montgomery County’s African Heritage Month. She was a member of the Montgomery County East County Citizens Advisory Board for six years, a current member of the Urban Parks Advisory Committee and several other community groups and organizations. She works with community members and organizations to hold free workshops and forums to address immigration, health, public safety and economic development concerns affecting the community.
As an attorney, she has successfully litigated many special education cases representing students with special needs against the DC Public School system to ensure that students receive their legally mandated Free and Appropriate Public Education; this includes provision of needed educational and related services. As a special education advocate, she advocates for appropriate testing and services for students. As an immigration attorney, she works diligently to ensure that immigrants receive their immigration benefits and helps immigrants navigate the U.S. immigration system. As an immigration and community activist, she has advocated with elected officials, Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, organizations/coalitions and the community to affect policy.
During the 2018 primary elections, Fatmata ran for one of the three District 20 State Delegate seats. Although she did not win a seat, she made a great impact and brought awareness to communities that otherwise would not have been recognized. She is the first African woman to run for this seat and earned almost 9% of the votes with over 4,000 votes.