Tuesday we voted, but today we continue our fight..

Arab American candidates gain significant victories.. 

Americans just turned out in historic numbers to participate in the mid-term election.  The Arab American Civic Council would like to congratulate the Arab American candidates who won in Tuesday’s Congressional and local elections. In Michigan, Rashida Tlaib made history becoming the first Palestinian American woman to be elected to Congress. Ilhan Omar, who came to the U.S. as a refugee, is the first Somali-American Congresswoman. Other Arab American winners include Florida’s Donna Shalala and Michigan’s Justin Amash who was re-elected, as reported by the AAI here.  Locally, Syrian-American film producer Ahmad Zahra has won a seat on the Fullerton City Council to represent Fullerton’s 5th district. He’s one of dozens of Arab Americans who ran for local office this year.

Here’s what we’ve been up to.. 

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Over the past two months, our team here at the Arab American Civic Council has been hard at work to get out the Arab vote for this historic Midterm Elections. We were able to contact more than 3,300 Arab American households in the Orange County area through nonpartisan phone banking and canvassing. We also registered close to 300 voters.

Our fight, however, is not over yet. Last Tuesday we voted, but today we continue our fight for a fair immigrationsystem, repealing the travel ban (sign this petition), protecting our free speech rights, and many other issues that directly impact our community.

Together, and with your support, we will tackle all these issues.

Watch Aljazeera‘s coverage of our voter outreach campaign..

Arab Americans gear up to vote in Orange County

The Arab American Civic Council  recently launched its voter outreach campaign to mobilize Arab Americans to participate in the upcoming elections to help restore justice, fairness and equality in our country. Focusing on Orange County, the Arab American Civic Council reached out to more than 5000 Arab American voters over the past couple of months at community events and through phone banking and canvassing.

Register to vote here

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With support from the National Network for Arab American Communities, AACC’s team is empowering and activating thousands of local Arab Americans prior to the November 6 midterm elections. AACC’s staff and volunteers are on the ground registering new voters at community events and gatherings and educating them about the upcoming elections.

Orange County has emerged as a political battleground ahead of the November midterm elections as Democrats and Republicans compete over Congressional Districts 39, 45, 48, and 49.  Arab Americans are determined to come out to vote in massive numbers and make sure the issues that impact them such as immigration, travel ban, and racial profiling, are addressed.

IMG_8967.jpgLocally, the Mayoral race in Anaheim, which is home to a large concentration of Arab Americans and immigrant communities, is one of the most important races.  

AACC partnered with a wide range of local organizations to host the Anaheim Mayoral Candidate Forum to be held on Thursday, October 18 at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim. 

For election FAQ’s click here.

Sign this petition: Demand Congress act to repeal the Muslim ban!

In a decision that will forever stain our history and the legacy of the U.S. Supreme Court—alongside cases like Dred Scott, which upheld slavery, and Korematsu, which permitted the incarceration of Japanese-Americans—our nation’s highest court ruled in favor of Trump’s Muslim Ban. In doing so, it gave the green light to an administration that has made xenophobia, racism, and anti-Muslim bigotry its official policy.

From the Muslim Ban to policies like locking immigrant children and their parents in cages, Trump’s agenda is rooted in White Supremacy. He consistently endorses dangerous policies to harm, dehumanize, and exclude people of color.

Every day that Congress fails to take action, the Ban continues to block people from five Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. Those impacted are separated from their loved ones, denied educational and professional opportunities, life saving medical treatment, and family milestones. This policy is based on nothing other than Trump’s bigoted campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Trump and the Supreme Court may allow policies that discriminate against people based on how they worship or where they come from, but Congress still has the power to #RepealTheBan, and should do so immediately. We urge you to support H.R. 4271 and S. 1979 and stand up against Trump’s Muslim Ban.

Click here to sign a petition telling Members of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate: Demand Congress act to repeal the Muslim ban!

In Washington, Arab Americans met for Congressional briefing and rallied against the Muslim Ban

img_4579.jpgOn 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.  

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Rashad Al-Dabbagh providing an update on the Calfiornia Arab American community

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.

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Rep. Keith Ellison

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.

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Rep. Lou Correa’s office

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.

 

3rd annual Arab American Heritage Gala a success

Close to 200 community members turned out for the Arab American Civic Council’s 3rd annual Arab American Heritage Gala on Saturday April 21, 2018 at the Great Wolf Lodge in Garden Grove.

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Among this year’s extraordinary Arab American Heritage Gala awardees were philanthropist and co-founder of the Palestine Children Relief Fund Dr. Musa Nasir who received the Joseph R. Haiek Lifetime Achievement Award, refugee advocate and co-founder of Sabil USA Dr. Samar Abdelaziz who received the Spirit of Service Award, and Jewish Voice for Peace who received the Solidarity in Action Award.

We were honored to have doctoral candidate in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside Loubna Qutami as the keynote speaker, actress and comedian Jennifer Jajeh and Oud player Clarissa Bitar who provided the entertainment for the evening.

Elected officials present at the gala were Congressman Lou Correa, Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Jose Moreno, Fontana Councilman Michael Tahan, Garden Grove Councilwoman Kim Nguyen, Anaheim Union High School Trustee Al Jabbar, and Garden Grove Unified School District Trustee Walter Muneton. Additionally, the offices of State Senator Josh Newman, and State Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva were represented.

During the gala, the Office of State Senator Josh Newman presented a resolution to recognize April as Arab American Heritage Month, which was passed unanimously on the Senate floor on Thursday, April 10.

See photos from the event here.

Among the event’s sponsors were Comerica Bank, and PIMCO Foundation. Thank you to all those who sponsored, advertised, volunteered, and attended the gala to support the work of the Arab American Civic Council to empower the Arab American community in Orange County.