Posted by Gabrielle Borg on July 27, 2015 in Blog

Ellison.jpgU.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN-5) took time out of his busy congressional schedule to meet with the AAI interns last week. Before playing some chords on his guitar, the congressman discussed issues ranging from activism to gridlock in Congress. Representative Ellison, the first American Muslim in congress, has long championed the cause of Palestinian rights and continues to be an ally to the Arab American community. Congressman Ellison is the only member of congress who has visited Gaza three times and he has written about his experiences. He was hopeful about the prospects for peace, but noted that “the movement for Palestine cannot be done without Palestinian [Americans],” who he feels are integral to mobilizing action and real change. He strongly urged the interns to get involved in politics, policy, and activism. 

The congressman is dedicated to public service. Before his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007, Rep. Ellison served as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. In the 114th Congress, Rep. Ellison sits on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Democratic Steering Committee. He also serves as a Chief Deputy Whip for Representative Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Whip.

Congressman Ellison left the interns with one valuable piece of advice: the first step to success is to figure out what you truly believe in and work to set clear goals. He told the interns that having a strong purpose in life would act as a steering wheel and a magnet. To the congressman, his purpose is liberty and justice for all.

Gabrielle Borg is an intern with the Arab American Institute