June 11, 2014
As we prepare for the upcoming American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee National Convention, we recognize that lingering questions and concerns remain about the ADC’s handling of the sexual harassment allegations.
The ADC recognizes the magnitude of the events that transpired and, most importantly, acknowledges the impact such actions had on the women who were hurt. Those that came forward are to be commended for their strength, willingness to speak out, and for bringing this critical issue to the forefront of our consciousness.
While we believe that, in the end, we came to the right decision, we acknowledge and are troubled that the process adopted caused hurt and undue stress upon our courageous sisters who came forward. Unintentionally, some of the steps of the process may have cast doubt on their narrative. We apologize to these women and to the community for the hurt and stress caused during the process.
I want you to know that the ADC has taken – and continues to take – steps to directly respond to these events. While the ADC has always prohibited sexual harassment and unwelcome conduct of any form, it has revised its sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies to greatly expand the type of prohibited conduct and institute a “zero tolerance” policy. Policies, however, are clearly not enough to prevent and deter sexual harassment and we are committed to eradicating it in practice as well.
In addition to the foregoing, I am committing to you, in this letter and by our actions below, that this is only the first step and that the ADC will continue to work – in the short and long-term – through programming and educational programs to eradicate sexual harassment and similar unwelcome conduct.
To that end, I have decided to open the convention with a community town hall. The session will take place on Friday, June 13 at 9:00 A.M. and will be open to all members. This meeting will provide you an opportunity to hear – directly from us – the steps taken to resolve the issue. It is also an opportunity to hear directly from you on this important issue.
Also, on the afternoon of Friday, June 13, we will be hosting a session discussing the issue of sexual harassment within the Arab-American community. As an ADC member and supporter, I ask you to join us in these very important conversations.
I look forward to seeing you on June 12. If you are unable to make it, please send your suggestions to me via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Samer E. Khalaf, Esq. ADC National President