ADC Convention: A Great Success

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's (ADC) 21st National Convention drew participants from around the world.  Approximately 2,000 persons took part in the four-day Convention held June10-13.  The theme, "Your Right, Your Vote, Our Future: Decision 2004" was reflected in the workshops, panel discussions, banquets, and conversations during the Convention.  Just under 30 exhibitors set up display tables at the Convention site and there was a two-day film festival.

THURSDAY, JUNE 10

As with previous years, the first day of the Convention was dedicated to making Arab-American voices heard on Capitol Hill.  In keeping with tradition, ADC's Day on Capitol Hill began with a preparatory meeting in the morning before the pre scheduled meetings with Members of Congress in their offices.

ADC continuously stresses the importance of these meetings. It is imperative for our community to show strength in numbers by holding meetings with your Members of Congress in their Washington, DC offices.  Nonetheless, you can and should still take the initiative, meet with your members in their home state office, and build a rapport.  For more information contact ADC's Deputy Director of Government Affairs Christine Gleichert at Christine@adc.org.

Following these meetings there was a reception held in the Rayburn Gold Room. Dale Kildee (D-MI), Barney Frank (D-MA), Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), and representatives from the office of Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also came to the dinner reception. Back at the Convention site and much later that evening Ralph Nader gave an invigorating speech and held a book signing.

FRIDAY, JUNE 11

On Friday morning, ADC Communications Director Hussein Ibish held a workshop entitled "Winning Arguments for Arab Americans" in which he outlined arguments on key issues that are convincing our fellow Americans.

The workshop also detailed ways in which grassroots mobilizing can bring Arab-American perspectives and balance to public broadcasting.  Later that afternoon, Ibish hosted a journalists' roundtable examining the failure of the media to view Administration claims about Iraq with any degree of skepticism, featuring Jim Fallows, Raghida Dergham, Andrew Cockburn, and Shaun Waterman.  There was also a panel discussion about Arab-American Literature.  Additionally, the directors of the movie "About Baghdad" held a discussion after the screening of their movie.  For more information on the films screened at the Convention, contact Laila Al-Qatami at laila@adc.org.

Demonstrating ADC's commitment to being part of the political landscape of the US, ADC President Mary Rose Oakar moderated the "Arab Americans in a Political Year" panel.  Further underscoring the need to have our voices heard in Congress, ADC held a workshop later that day entitled "Government Relations: Strengthening our Voices."

The ADC Legal Department also held two panels on Friday.  In the first panel, "From the Victims Mouth", four individuals, whom ADC has assisted in the past year, discussed their personal experiences.  These experiences ranged from immigration, airport and law enforcement profiling and a "Special Registration" case stud