Posted by Arab American Institute on January 23, 2017 in Blog

2017-01-24.pngAcross the country, Arab Americans are stepping forward to make change and build support for immigrant rights, religious freedom and justice for disenfranchised communities. In Iowa, Newman Abuissa, a member of AAI's National Policy Council, is no different. As part of his role as an Advisory Board member of the University of Iowa's Center for Human Rights Abuissa worked with fellow members to create a community event that would counter division and hate. The result was Abraham's Walk "inspired by the biblical Abraham, who walked from his hometown to a new land and was known for his hospitality and friendship, and is a revered figure in Judaism, Christianity and Islam."

The three mile walk included stops with programs at each celebrating diversity and community. As for Abuissa, he played many parts including leading a discussion around coexistence in the Middle East and Midwest and working with his church, St. Raphael Orthodox, to provide Arabic food and a choir performance. 

For Abuissa, Abraham's Walk was even more critical because just after the November election a Sudanese family had been harassed at their Iowa City home. Abuissa was proud of the community's response but knows that the work must continue, and so Abraham's Walk has done that. 

"Events that build community bridges and bind us together are what we need right now. When you know your neighbor, understand your neighbor - you can work together to lift one another up. Strengthening our relationships is key to fighting for our beliefs and our community," said Abuissa. 

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