Posted by Steven Austerer on June 07, 2018 in Blog
Across the country, Yalla Vote organizers are meeting with community members and leaders to remind Arab Americans that their votes matter. As Field Organizer for Massachusetts, I’ve spent the week meeting and speaking with members of The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) and the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) Cambridge to discuss the issues that concern them and how they can take those concerns to the ballot box in November.
The largest mosque in New England, ISBCC is a thriving hub for the community whose members hail from a myriad of countries including Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Somalia—to name just a few. At the Center’s iftar and annual fundraiser, people from mosques and community centers from across the Boston area came together to break fast. An active and engaged group, many members were eager to discuss their primary areas of concern such as protecting free speech and voting rights, and fighting back against bigotry and hate crimes.
At ISB Cambridge, congregants were equally engaged with AAI. Invited by the executive director to speak before and after Friday prayers, I shared AAI’s efforts to get people around the country registered to vote and educated about their rights as voters. A busy Friday in Ramadan, members met with me afterwards to ask more about AAI’s work and share their concerns about the key issues affecting all of us. Despite the limited time they had, many signed “Commit to Vote” cards, pledging that they will make it to the polls on election day.
For many of those I spoke with at ISBCC and ISB Cambridge, they were pleased to see that AAI is advocating and acting as a “watch dog” for voter engagement and protection. There was a palpable desire to continue engaging on the issues AAI works on and many are committed to using their voice at the ballot box on Tuesday, November 6th.