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Is Sanders the One? Arab Americans Sure Do Think So....

posted on: Feb 27, 2019

Is Sanders the One? Arab Americans Sure do Think So....

By: Haider Umar/Arab America Contributing Writer

Bernie Sanders has officially declared himself as a candidate in the 2020 election, his announcement though was a sign of relief for many of his followers; however, what he did next shows the true magnitude of Bernie’s progressive thinking. Bernie Sanders has appointed Faiz Shakir, former National Political Director of the ACLU, as his campaign manager.

Shakir, who announced his departure from the ACLU this week, has an Impressive progressive resume. His endeavors include stints as a senior adviser to Democratic leaders: Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. He has also served as editor of Think Progress, the news outlet associated with the Center for American Progress. Shakir is set up to be the first Muslim-American to manage a primary presidential campaign.

WHO is Shakir??

Other than being a Harvard school of government and Georgetown University Law Center graduate, Shakir still has more impressive details on his resume. He’s a former vice president for communications at the Center for American Progress and an extremely well-connected liberal advocate, a position of his that brings a perfect edge to Sander’s campaign. Shakir’s, advocacy efforts make him an ideal match for Sander who is eloquently embracing the new more open-minded, outspoken advocates of the millennial generation.

Advocate against the Anti-Speech /Anti-BDS clause

The former national director, Shakir, has spoken openly about the first amendment infractions Bills like S1 bring to the table and how they effectively silence political participation and our citizen’s rights to advocate their beliefs.

In an interview with Tablet in 2017, Shakir explained why he and the ACLU opposed the anti-BDS bill. He told Tablet: “Of course, the ACLU’s concern here is that we may be criminalizing speech, chilling speech, and chilling political beliefs, targeting certain political beliefs through this bill. Maybe it was inadvertent, or maybe it’s intentional, we’re not sure, but the fact is that the bill as constructed would target individuals and potentially cause them legal jeopardy for expressing support of a boycott that they might feel is in their own political belief system. And that kind of approach from the government sends a very chilling signal to all that certain speech is going to be criminalized. That’s a first amendment concern for us.”

Bernie’s actions are helping him create rhetoric around his campaign that is against racism and hate mongering and is more invested in providing the people of the United States with the progressive image of tomorrow.

A stance against Islamaphobia! Bernie’s connection to the Arab American Communities

During the 2016 election, many candidates delivered messages that involved hate, prejudice, and mistrust towards Arab nations and eventually refueling negative rhetorics about the Arab American communities in the United States. Such political statements were not only deplorable but made common practice due to Trump gaining massive support through fear and hate/warmongering. Since Trumps presidency, hate crimes have increased all over the U.S. and the victims of these crimes are people of all ages, ethnicities, and religions, Arabs, Jews, and even African Americans have suffered injustices and attacks and defamation on their character throughout this incompetent administrations reign.

Arab Americans overwhelmingly backed Sanders in the 2016 elections, and also this time around, community advocates are already showing unwavering enthusiasm for Sanders, the lawmaker.  Arab-Americans’ political awareness has led them to trust him.

Sanders already has had a strong base of Arab American support, which was evident in 2016 after he ran Arabic campaign ads, and met with Arab American activists. Sander’s foreign-policy agenda engaged communities skeptical of US wars and US politicians’ unquestioning backing of Israel.

I think our community has an instinct for candidates that tell the truth and that they feel they can trust,” –James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute

In predominantly Arab neighborhoods in Dearborn, Michigan, for example, Sanders beat out his then-primary opponent Clinton by a wide margin of votes, which helped him carry the state in one of the biggest upsets of the 2016 Democratic race.

This news should bring joy to many Arab Americans in the U.S. because the platform for their civil participation is being recognized and their efforts towards protecting human rights and humanitarianism are speaking volumes, shifting the political landscape.

Our 116th Congress is more diverse than the past, filled with women of color, Muslims, and Palestine sympathizers. Hate for too long has divided our nation but this new wave of progressive and decisive attitude that young Representatives like Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and other minority leaders have displayed, is swaying the public to view incidents of civil rights, human rights, and ethical rights violations in a much grimmer light.

Bernie’s ability to cause such mobility, his conscious efforts to ending infractions upon American civil liberties, and his acceptance of the reality that surrounds the Arab nations of the world should speak volumes to our community. He’s a candidate that represents the forward-minded America that stands for equality, freedom, and justice for all.