Posted on July 03, 2017 in Press Releases


Media Advisory 

For immediate release: July 3, 2017


Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts: Civil Rights Protections at Risk

Hill Briefing Highlights Impacts on Marginalized Communities 

[Washington, DC] The Arab American Institute will hold a briefing for congressional staff on how proposed budget cuts will impact civil rights protections for marginalized communities on Thursday, July 6 at 10AM.  

Under the guise of fiscal conservatism and shrinking government, President Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget makes cuts across all agencies but defense, homeland security, and veterans affairs. While discussion of proposed cuts is appropriate for policy debates, the public discourse of the budget has largely overlooked a key concern: Trump’s proposed budget targets the federal government’s infrastructure for the protection of civil rights and fighting discrimination. These funding and personnel cuts would occur across key agencies, such as the Departments of Labor, Justice, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, and even the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Experts will highlight the importance of the office of civil rights within agencies and what Congress can do to ensure their work continues to protect impacted communities. 


Mustafa Santiago Ali - Hip Hop Caucus

As Senior Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization at the Hip Hop Caucus, Ali leads the strategic direction, expansion and operation of this national organization’s work on issues of environmental justice and community revitalization. Ali previously served at the Environmental Protection Agency for more than two decades under Republican and Democratic administrations and helped found its environmental justice office in the 1990s. He recently resigned from the EPA in protest of Trump Administration’s proposed cuts and their impact on vulnerable communities nationwide. 

Emily Chatterjee - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Chatterjee is a Senior Counsel to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Leadership Conference Education Fund, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations committed to advancing civil and human rights across the United States. Prior to joining the Leadership Conference in 2016, Chatterjee served as Policy Director at the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

Laura Dunn - SurvJustice

Dunn is the Founder and Executive Director of SurvJustice, a national not-for-profit organization that promotes justice for all survivors of sexual violence through effective legal assistance, policy advocacy, and institutional training. Dunn has been an instrumental voice in the passage of the 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization and the movement to address sexual assaults at universities under the gender equity law Title IX.  

Ian Thompson - American Civil Liberties Union

Thompson is a Legislative Representative in the ACLU’s Washington Legislation Office, where he works to advance the organization’s civil liberties and civil rights agenda in Congress and the executive branch by focusing on LGBT rights, HIV/AIDS, and sex education. Thompson has been with the ACLU for more than a decade and previously worked on the Hill.

Maya Berry - Arab American Institute

As Executive Director of the Arab American Institute, Berry steers the Institute's policy agenda. In 1996 she established AAI’s first Government Relations department, which she led for five years before becoming Legislative Director for House Minority Whip David Bonior, where she developed policies on international relations, human rights, trade, and immigration.

RSVP required to Jennifer Salan at (202) 429-9210 or

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Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent.  AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. For more information please visit