Sam Jammal: Rep. Cardenas’ New Chief of Staff

Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Blog

By Jennine Vari

Spring 2013 Intern

Arab American and Latino lawyer Sam Jammal was recently hired to serve as Chief of Staff to California Congressman Tony Cardenas (D-29). Jammal has had a prominent legal and legislative career in both government and advocacy.

Jammal started off as a Legislative Staff Attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), one of the nation’s leading Latino civil rights organizations, after graduating from George Washington University Law School in 2007. Two years later, he transitioned into politics, working as a Legislative Counsel for Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and...

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Act Now: Say No to Drone Surveillance in the US

Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Blog

We’ve written a number of times about the lack of transparency around the administration’s drone policy and its constitutional implications. As the administration continues to face scrutiny for its use of drones abroad, state legislators are introducing legislation to combat the use of drone surveillance domestically. More than twenty state, have considered creating laws that would limit or ban the use of unmanned aerial systems, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

AAI, in addition to several civil rights groups, has signed on to a petition calling on the US Bureau of Customs and Border...

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Hate Has its Price

Posted on March 06, 2013 in Countdown

Protecting the Voting Rights Act

Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Blog

Today, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on one of the most important legislative initiatives from the Civil Rights era: Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The VRA ensures that all eligible American citizens are able to vote, unimpeded by processes or regulations— from literacy tests and English-only ballots, to moving polling places and redistricting—that could effectively disenfranchise ethnic minorities.

The VRA has been upheld a number of times over the years, upheld by the Supreme Court in 2009 and extended three times by Congress. The most recent extension, through 2031, passed in...

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UC Lecturer Links Arab American Students to Terrorist Organizations

Posted by on February 15, 2013 in Blog

By Jade Zoghbi

Spring 2013 Intern

One should and must be able to defend a personal set of political beliefs; one’s causes or convictions. This is particularly true in our institutions of higher learning. Therefore, when an academic and supposed role model publicly and blindly accuses entire student groups of being related to terrorist organizations, the outcome is both unacceptable and extremely offensive.

Academic freedom and mentorship are crucial to any student’s university experience, and professors who instill hatred and suspicion on others cannot be tolerated. In the public institutions of the University of California, the student...

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ACT TODAY: Tell Your Senators the FBI Should Track Hate Crimes Against Arab Americans

Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Blog

There is a problem with the way federal law enforcement tracks hate crimes aimed at the Arab American community: they don’t.  

In the past ten years, there have been more than 800 incidents involving “violence, threats, vandalism, and arson against persons perceived to be Muslim or to be of Arab, Middle Eastern, or South Asian origin.” Federal charges have been brought in only a handful of cases, with only 45 convictions as of March 29, 2011.

Two senators are working to change that, and they’re asking their Senate colleagues to help them. You should too.

Senators Dick Durbin...

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Wow, What a Weekend!

Posted on January 23, 2013 in Countdown
We didn’t think it was possible for anyone to be more excited about the inaugural festivities this weekend than us. We hosted an Arab American inaugural celebration in our office, with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Congressman Keith Ellison, and Arab American comedians Dean Obeidallah and Go Remy. But after seeing Joe Biden at the inaugural parade yesterday, we will definitely cede first place for the “most excited award” (not actually an award) to our most gregarious Vice President. Vice President Biden almost gave his secret service agent a heart attack when he started to literally run laps around the parade (it starts about a minute into the clip), jogging over to onlookers to shake hands. Oh, and in other news, President Obama was sworn in over the weekend and gave an inaugural address in which he laid out a progressive vision for America going forward. A couple of things the president said stood out for us, and we posted them on our Facebook page, so tell us what you think.
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Johnny Khamis Sworn in as San Jose City Council Member

Posted by on January 07, 2013 in Blog

Arab Americans aren’t the only ones celebrating the appointment of Johnny Khamis as the first-ever Arab American City Council member representing the 10th district of the city of San Jose, California. Khamis’s swearing-in ceremony, which was led yesterday by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, received prominent attention from the local San Jose news site, which lauded the newly-elected Republican for, among other things, helping San Jose to reach yet “another milestone in the growing diversity of the Bay Area's largest city.” Khamis, a financial adviser by trade and a Republican, won the swing...

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Update: Khamis (CA) and Mosallam (MI) win their races

Posted by on November 08, 2012 in Blog

Two more Arab Americans can now add their names to yesterday’s list  of winning candidates.

In California, Johnny Khamis (left) narrowly won a seat on the San Jose City Council over Robert Braunstein. The election was too close to call on Tuesday night, so Khamis, Braunstein, and their respective campaigns waited anxiously on Wednesday for absentee ballots to be counted. Khamis defeated Braunstein by just one vote in a six-candidate primary in June, so the close November election was unsurprising. A last-minute endorsement from San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, however, may have given Khamis...

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Voter Intimidation: Be on the Lookout

Posted by on October 10, 2012 in Blog

A Texas- based group, True the Vote, plans to mobilize millions of poll watchers around the country. But some fear that its real intention is to intimidate minority voters. Their fears were confirmed last month when True the Vote’s national election coordinator told poll watchers that their aim should be to make for voters feel “like [you’re] driving and seeing the police following you.”

The organization, which has openly stated its intention to oust President Obama, has been the subject of media investigations regarding its attempts to purge voter rolls across the country....

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