Arab American Summit
The Arab American Summit was held at the Doubletree Hotel in Dearborn over a 3-day weekend. Speakers and organization leaders traveled with their families from all across the nation. The Arab American Action Network from Chicago, Illinois and the Not in Our Town organization from Los Angeles, California are just a few that were featured at the event.
This year’s theme was “From Marginalized to Organized” where topics discussed ranged anywhere from racism, to the discrimination of minorities in the United States, to how we should respond to hate crimes. Manager of the TAKE ON HATE Campaign Rashida Tlaib, Director of the National Network for Arab American Communities Nadia El-Zein Tonova, Executive Director of ACCESS Hassan Jaber and many other amazing speakers were there to start off the Summit with a heated topic of discussion was that of the recent Syrian Refugee Crisis and how to aid them in immigrating to America from their war-torn country. Author of the graphic novel “Baddawi,” Leila Abdel-Razzaq, delivered a speech and in a way, a summary of her novel which shares the story of her father’s childhood in a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut. Abdel-Razzaq spoke about the importance of accepting refugees and helping to spread awareness about the recent attacks in the Middle East.
Another activist, Sara El-Amine, received the Emerging Leader Award at the Change-Makers Dinner for being an Arab American under 35 years of age, who has enhanced the overall state of Arab Americans by working with Obama in the non-profit Organizing For Action. El-Amine dedicated a heartwarming speech to her father who she says has helped her become the activist she is today.
The summit was a gathering of dedicated activists whose mission was to initiate a respectful and intellectual discussion about important topics concerning the Arab-American community. They were incredibly successful in this endeavor. The event embodied the idea of combating hate with love and understanding which is supported by a statement by Jack Shaheen, author of Reel Bad Arabs: “Challenge racism and do it gracefully; not with anger, gracefully.”