Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Glorious #AnaheimEidFestival Dance Move!


Monday, July 11, 2016

US Media Didn't Care When Muslims Danced After Haters Wanted to Intimidate Them!

As a founding member of the Eid Festival Committee, a group that plans the annual Eid Festival in Anaheim that was launched in 2013, it was extremely difficult to garner the media's interest to produce or write stories about a Muslim festival... until a controversy happened.

Muslims and Arabs usually receive media coverage when there's a terrorist attack, war, or some kind of crisis, leaving people wondering why Muslims are always angry and at war. The Eid Festival was one of many examples of Arabs and Muslims gathering in a celebratory atmosphere that could show them more positively. But despite my efforts to reach out to local media outlets including radio, TV, and print, there was little to no interest.

Then a group of bigots showed up at the festival to intimidate the community and disrupt the event as they shouted the most outrageous things to a bunch of happy Arabs and Muslims. That's when I pulled out my phone and streamed the incident live on Facebook, which went viral (only then some media showed interest).

People responded to these hateful things with love and kindness. by blasting loud music to drown out the hate, and hundreds reacted by dancing (one dance move was bizarre though Buzzfeed called it 'awesome), to the sound of Imagine Dragons, Selena Gomez' Kill them with Kindness, and some debkeh, too!

The video was viewed more than half a million times, and received a little media attention from Buzzfeed, the Orange County Register, and Fusion, however, not a single American TV station has been interested so far.. except Alhurra TV - the Arabic-language propaganda TV that streams in the Middle East!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The #RightToBoycott is an integral part of American history

My opinion piece about the California's anti-BDS bill AB 2844 was published in the Voice of OC today. The bill introduced by Asm. Richard Bloom of Santa Monica has been watered down after hearings in the Committee on Accountability, Judiciary Committee, and Appropriations Committee and references to Israel has been removed from the final amended version that passed.

Click here to read the Voice of OC article.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

AAI's Jim Zogby to receive Nagi Daifullah Social Justice Award

Orange County Dems Honor James Zogby, Arab American Institute President, with Nagi Daifallah Social Justice Award, June 11

On Saturday, June 11, the California Democratic Party of Orange County’s 72nd Assembly Democratic Alliance will honor Arab American Institute (AAI) President Dr. James Zogby for his work to advance civil liberties and empower Arab Americans at the 16th Annual Orange County Flag Day celebration. The award is named after Nagi Daifallah, a 24 year-old immigrant from Yemen and Arab American who was killed during the UFW grape strike of 1973.

WHAT:          Orange County Democrats honor James Zogby with Nagi Daifallah Social Justice Award

WHEN:         Saturday, June 11 201612 -3PM

WHERE:      Teamsters 952 Hall, 140 S. Marks, City of Orange, CA

Dr. James Zogby
For more than 30 years, Zogby has been at the forefront of the struggle for civil liberties and Arab American political activism. Playing a key role in the bedrock organizations of the Arab American community, Zogby co-founded and chaired the Palestine Human Rights Campaign in the late 1970s, and later co-founded and served as the Executive Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. In 1982, he co-founded Save Lebanon, Inc., a private non-profit, humanitarian and non-sectarian relief organization which funded health care for Palestinian and Lebanese victims of war, and other social welfare projects in Lebanon. In 1985, Zogby founded AAI, a Washington, D.C.-based organization which serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community. Zogby and AAI have led Arab American efforts to secure political empowerment in the U.S. through voter registration, education and mobilization.

In 2010, Zogby published the highly-acclaimed book, Arab Voices. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee and was appointed by President Obama to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2013. USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission, the first of its kind in the world, dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. Dr. Zogby was reappointed to a second term in 2015.

Nagi Daiffulah:
Twenty-four-year-old United Farm Workers activist Nagi Daifallah was killed by a sheriff’s deputy during the grape strike of 1973. Nagi came to the U.S. from his native Yemen looking for a better life and was seen as a leader among farm workers, including fellow Arab Americans, for his activism.

Of Nagi, Cesar Chavez said, “Like so many thousands of Farm Workers, [Nagi] came to this country seeking opportunity and fell into the trap of poverty and powerlessness that has enslaved so many migrant Farm Workers in our country. He joined the United Farm Workers Union and gave himself fully to the grape strike and the struggle for justice…. We are faced with discrimination, exploitation, and even slaughter…. In the struggle to change these evils, Nagi gave his life.” 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

One More City Proclaims Arab American Heritage Month!

On Tuesday, May 16, 2016, the Anaheim City Council under the leadership of Mayor Tom Tait, proclaimed April as Arab American Heritage Month. The council recognized key Arab American leaders for decades of community development in Anaheim, as well as the work of the Arab American Civic Council in taking the lead on celebrating the month.

The proposal to recognize Arab American Heritage Month was submitted in late April following the AACC's inaugural Arab American Heritage Gala, which took place on April 24th, however, due to Anaheim's strict rules on agendizing items in advance, the proposal was added to the council May 10th meeting, which passed to be presented on the 17th.

In late April, the City of Garden Grove was the first city in Orange County to pass a proclamation for the same purpose.

Friday, April 15, 2016

STOP ANTI-BDS BILL (Vote on 4/19) #RightToBoycott

Tell the Assembly Judiciary Committee to Vote NO on anti-BDS bill AB 2844
(Time Sensitive - Vote is on 4/19)

We need constituents in the following districts to contact their reps below so please share with anyone you know in Orange County, Santa Cruz, Pasadena, Sacramento, San Diego, Monterrey Park, San Francisco, Salinas. -- though all contact from our side is encouraged today and Monday so do email or call.

Tell the following Assemblymembers to vote NO on AB2844 ("Anti-BDS Act of 2016") when it goes to the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tues., April 19th at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

Link to the Bill

The bill would bar state and local contracts with private companies that boycott the Israeli occupation by refusing to bulldoze homes or build more settlements in the illegally occupied West Bank. This could impact thousands of workers at Veolia, which runs transit.

In pushing this bill, the Legislative Jewish Caucus is attempting to silence debate on Israel/Palestine, while supporting violations of international law. Below is a list of the Judiciary Committee members . Thank you and warm regards, Marcy Winograd

Chair, Mark Stone (D- Santa Cruz, 29th AD)
(916) 319-2029

Donald Wagner (R-Anaheim, Irvine 68th Ad)
(916) 319-2068

Luis Alejo (D-Salinas)
(916) 319-2030

Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park, 49th AD)
(916) 319-2049

David Chiu (D-San Francisco, 17th AD)
(916) 319-2017

James Gallagher (R-Sacramento Valley, 3rd AD)
(916) 319-2003

Chris Holden (D-Pasadena, South Pasadena, 41st AD)
(916) 319-2041

Brian Maianschein (R-San Diego, 77th AD)
(916) 319-2077

Phil Ting (D-San Francisco, 19th AD)
(916) 319-2019

## ##

Sample message:

Dear Members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee:

I call on you and your committee to oppose AB 2844, an unconstitutional attack on free speech with provisions that would be impossible to implement in any rational manner.

Whether or not one agrees with any particular boycott or divestment campaign aimed at pressing Israel to end its occupation, obey international law and respect Palestinian human rights, participation in such activities, in response to a call from Palestinians using nonviolent methods to secure their freedom, is a legitimate form of expression, protected by the U.S. and state constitutions. The state must not deny financial relationships to people or organizations on account of their political views.

California can lead the way in stopping a wave of such illegal legislation around the country. I look forward to hearing your commitment to oppose AB 2844 or anything like it.

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