ADC Convention Panel: We Count Too! A Conversation About the 2020 Census - ADC

ADC Convention Panel: We Count Too! A Conversation About the 2020 Census

ADC Convention Panel: We Count Too! A Conversation About the 2020 Census

  • September 27, 2018
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Washington, D.C. | www.adc.org | September 25, 2018 –  As part of the upcoming convention in Anaheim, California, please join the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) for “We Count Too! A Conversation About the 2020 Census”. The panelists will discuss why the census is important and its new inclusion of a citizenship question. Featured panelists will also address community concerns about filling out the census and give an update regarding the MENA category. The panel will occur from 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM on Saturday, October 13, 2018. The ADC convention will take place October 12 – 13, 2018.

Presenting on the session will be Mr. Arturo Vargas, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)Ms.Nahla Kayali, founder of Access California Services (AccessCal) ; and Mr. Samer Khalaf, President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.Each of the presenters brings a unique perspective and experiences to the conversation. Bios of the presenters are listed below.

The session will be part of the ADC National Convention, which will be held October 12-13, 2018 in Anaheim, California.  To register for the Convention click here. Registration provides access to the Friday evening reception, all panels, Saturday lunch, and the Saturday Evening Gala. 


Arturo Vargas is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund a national non-profit, non-partisan organization that strengthens American democracy by promoting the full participation of Latinos in civic life. He also serves as the Chief Executive Officer of NALEO, an affiliated national membership organization of Latino policymakers and their supporters. Arturo has held these positions since 1994.

Prior to joining NALEO Educational Fund, Arturo held various positions at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), including Vice President for Community Education and Public Policy. In this role he supervised and directed MALDEF’s community education and leadership development programs. Before joining MALDEF, Arturo was the Senior Education Policy Analyst at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) in Washington, D.C.

Arturo is a nationally recognized expert in Latino demographic trends, electoral participation, voting rights, the Census, and redistricting. Arturo holds a master’s degree in Education and a bachelor’s degree in History and Spanish from Stanford University. He is from Los Angeles, and was born in El Paso, Texas.


Nahla Kayali is s recipient of the “Champion of Change” award from the White House in 2014, Nahla is described as an advocate and a leader who inspires, elevates, and empowers underserved individuals and families to ensure they have access to health and human services.  Arriving to the United States as a Palestinian refugee from Syria at the age of 16, and married, and only having finished the 9th grade, Nahla founded Access California Services (AccessCal) in 1998, a culturally and linguistically competent health and human services non-profit organization in Anaheim dedicated to empowering all under-served populations, with a focus on Arab- American & Muslim- American communities. Under Nahla’s executive leadership, AccessCal has grown from a budget of $2,000 to $1.9 million serving an estimated 10,000 underserved clients and providing over 55,000 services, annually.   AccessCal‘s programs include: case management and advocacy, healthcare access services, employment and tax services, counseling and support services, financial assistance services, education services, citizenship and immigration services, community services and civic engagement and refugee services.  Nahla’s work continues to make an impact at the local and national level and has awarded her multiple recognitions from public officials, foundations, corporations and service providers. In addition to her leadership role at AccessCal, Nahla serves as the Chairperson of the Orange County Refugee Forum, holds the State Refugee Forum Seat for the State Advisory Council on Refugee Services, holds a seat with the State Office of Health Equity, and serves on national and international boards including 12 advisory boards and committees including the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) and Arab American Institute (AAI).


Samer E. Khalaf joined ADC as President in January of 2014. Mr. Khalaf is a graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University where he received his B.A. in Political Science, and of The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law where he received both his J.D. with a Certificate in Law and Public Policy. Samer also serves on the Board of Directors of the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights.

Prior to joining the ADC family, Samer worked as an attorney with a New York law firm specializing in union-side labor law and ERISA. He is admitted to practice law in New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., as well as and before the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Serving as President of the ADC was not Samer’s first encounter with the organization; he worked as a legal intern while pursuing his J.D. at the Catholic University, he served on the Board of the ADC New Jersey Chapter and later held a position on the ADC National Board.

Samer was a member of the Board of Directors of the Arab-American Family Support Center, also serving as Board Chairman. In addition, he served on the boards of the Mental Health Association in Passaic County, TANWEER – The Arab-American Family Center of New Jersey. Samer had the honor of being appointed by the NJ Governor as a founding commissioner to the New Jersey Arab American Heritage Commission. Samer has also served on other gubernatorial commissions such as the New Jersey Advisory Committee on Police Standards and the New Jersey Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on Immigration Policy.

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