On April 24 the Arab American Civic Council Executive Director Rashad Al-Dabbagh and Transformative Leaders Fellow Johanna Mustafa traveled to Washington, DC for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) Arab American Leadership Days, organized in part with the Arab American Institute, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the Network for Arab American Professionals.
Our cohort had the opportunity to rally against the Muslim Ban outside of the Supreme Court Offices in the wake of oral arguments on the Ban. After federal judges ruled against the Muslim Ban, many thought that the Supreme Court will strike it down. However, after last week’s oral arguments, it has become clearer the the Supreme Court is leaning towards upholding the Ban.
Following the rally against the Muslim Ban, we gathered to hear the latest policy discussions on key issues such as refugees, healthcare, census, and immigration; and heard community updates from each region. Experts from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU, Jewish Voice for Peace, Representative Betty McCollum’s office, and USAID, joined us to discuss the importance of fighting discrimination and surveillance under the current administration, and the importance of organizing the Arab American vote.
On Friday, April 27, Arab Americans from across the country converged for a Congressional breakfast briefing on Capitol Hill and heard directly from Representatives Keith Ellison (MN), Betty McCollum (MN), Hank Johnson (GA), and Brenda Lawrence (MI).
Rep. McCollum commented on the progress of her ”Promoting Human Rights By Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act,” which seeks to protect Palestinian children from abuse in Israeli military detention. Ellison emphasized the importance of advocacy, and encouraged Arab Americans to do more to tell their stories.
After the briefing delegations from each state met with their Representatives in Congress to advocate on issues they care about.
Arab American Civic Council members and other California-based leaders then met with Rep. Lou Correa, Rep. Norma Torres’ office, and Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office. The issues that were discussed during those meetings included extending Temporary Protected Status for Syrians and Yemenis and nationals of other countries, refugee resettlement, concerns regarding surveillance of Arab, Muslim, and vulnerable communities, and anti-boycott bills the predominantly targets US Palestine solidarity activists.