Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee holds 42nd annual convention in Washington

Sahar Zahran, Tuesday 21 Jun 2022

The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) held its 42nd annual convention in Washington DC on Friday from 17 to 18 June after a two-year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Members of the ADC for an image during the meeting which held its 42nd annual convention in Washington DC on Friday 17 June, 2022.

 

The event discussed strengthening the voices of Arab-Americans, especially youths, as well as many legislative and legal initiatives.

The convention also reviewed the seminal work of the ADC in preserving Arab cultural heritage in the US and a media project that aimed to tackle anti-Arab discrimination and islamophobia on mainstream and social media.

Safa Rifka, the ADC’s Chairperson said: “From 2019 to 2021, the ADC successfully took on 1,693 cases on immigration status, support to economically impaired members of the community impacted by COVID-19, hate crimes, bullying, discrimination, and harassment from certain law enforcement sources, upholding the rule of law and addressing penitentiary issues.”

“The impact of COVID-19 was felt acutely in America, not least within our community. It is also a reality that 40% of Arab-Americans live around or beneath the poverty line, and this number has increased because of the impact of the pandemic. The ADC has multiplied its efforts in order to enhance addressing economic challenges to the community. We promoted knowledge programmes to inform young business owners about the options and opportunities that existed and we helped current business owners by informing them about the resources available to support them,” he added.

“We also exerted much effort to secure the minority status for the Arab-American community, which will obviously open more doors to community businesses. We still face traditional challenges, including racism and discrimination. In the last couple years, hate crimes have been on the rise in America, fed by white supremacy and right-wing extremism. Six January put a new emphasis on the struggle against racism and discrimination in the US.”

Rifka continued: “In the past three years, the ADC noticed a significant increase in discrimination complaints. In 2019, there were more than a hundred such cases and we noticed that they were increasingly related to workplace incidents. In 2020 and 2021, the number decreased, with people working from home. However, there was another emergence of cases related to cyber bullying from workplace colleagues during the pandemic. On the immigration front, the ADC supports a number of cases including delays to visa status and processing, not least because the pandemic slowed down the related institutions. The ADC also held a couple of key meetings with the secretary for homeland security in order to address these delays and difficulties.”

“Furthermore, the ADC has put more frontline resources towards policy and legislative matters, meeting almost every congressional office and becoming the only Arab-American institution to become a member of the Policy Advisory Committee of the Progressive Caucus.”

“On discrimination in education, the ADC legally assists Arab-American students who experience discriminatory grading, punishment, discriminatory scholarship selection, and discrimination and harassment for expressing their political views on campus. The ADC also works with the Department of Justice and the Department of Education to improve services for Arab children, notably refugees, that are learning English as a second language,” he concluded.

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