Sep 16, 2019
In 1980, James Abourezk, US Senator from South Dakota and the first Arab-American elected to Congress, founded the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. It is now the nation’s largest grassroots nonprofit advocating for the civil and human rights of Arab Americans. With a small staff of lawyers, and community-based supporters in 50 states, ADC, under the leadership of Samer Khalef, represents Arab Americans in cases involving hate crimes, discrimination and deportation. And it educates the public and policy makers about who Arab Americans are, from their rich cultural backgrounds to their experience in America. Arab-Americans face specific challenges as immigrants, including the reality of being stateless and having no country to claim as their own. Those who are able to remain in the US exist in a sort of legal limbo. They are on essentially on parole, unable to work and ineligible for public resources. Samer is optimistic about the determination of Arab Americans to turn out for the 2020 elections but concerned about voter suppression. He will definitely make the voice of his community heard.