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...Read more
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...Read more
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...Read more
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...Read more
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...Read more
Posted on January 23, 2013 in Countdown
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, MercuryNews.com 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...Read more
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...Read more
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....Read more