Palestinian Activist Rush Darwish Seeks Congressional Seat in Illinois
By: Emily Devereaux/Arab America Contributing Writer
Who is Rush?
Throughout the Democratic primary debates, remember that district-level politicians are equally important. Let us introduce you to Rush Darwish who is running for Congress in Illinois’ third district. Arab America recently caught up with Darwish who expressed his love and commitment to his diverse district, which is home to large Polish and Latino populations, and the largest concentrated Palestinian population in the United States. However, his district has faced a great deal of disenfranchisement and injustice.
However, this was not the first time that he has witnessed injustice and inequality. He is a born Chicago native, but he also holds a proud Palestinian heritage. At the age of six, he moved to Palestine for two years with his family. He lived in Beitin, which is a small village outside of Ramallah.
Even at his young age, Darwish began to understand that injustice and inequality occur everywhere. Therefore, he draws on these experiences and understandings. Throughout the turbulent course of the past few years’ political climates, he believes that the current administration does not assist in bridging inequality, but on the contrary, it amplifies it.
Representing Illinois’ Third District
Mr. Darwish may seem like the typical man next door. He is a small business owner and a youth basketball coach. He never pictured himself running for office. His strong sense of passion, grit, and determination was provoked when he listened to former President Barack Obama speak for the last time. The former President gave advice to all those listening: If you aren’t happy with local officials, grab a clipboard and run for office. Luckily, he listened.
Illinois’ Third District is fortunate to have him. He has been an active member of the community for many years. He serves on various community organizations, such as the Arab American Citizens Professional Association, which advocates for small business owners and professionals and provides opportunities for networking and outreach.
His other accomplishments within his community include, but are not limited to, working with both Arab American people and Muslim people to endorse political candidates, assisting people in his district with voting registration, and organizing humanitarian aid efforts in Palestine, which include the construction of two hospitals with pediatric oncology wings.
Throughout the campaign, Darwish has not accepted money from large Political Action Committees (PACs). All of his fundraisings are honest and grassroots. Regarding policy issues, he feels passionate about healthcare and the need to keep private options. In addition, he also curates a public option that will work for everyone. One particular issue that hits close to home is the United States’ role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He sees the United States failing in their foreign policy with Israel, by assisting Israel to leverage its power against the Palestinian people. The U.S. provides military aid to the Israeli forces and spreads propaganda by making a conscious effort to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
Rush Moves Forward
While he could certainly go on for much longer about his passion for different policy aspects and issues, he did want to leave a piece of advice with all young Arab American people. He wants everyone to know that instead of complaining about something they do not like, it is time to take action. Millennials and Generation Z have the strength of social media and other forms of instant communication that give everyone a platform to tell the stories they want to tell. By taking action or even running for office, this will hold the government accountable.
Additionally, he says that it’s important to listen to each other and open a dialogue with everyone, even those across the aisle from us. Politics should be what is best for all people; therefore, it is important to listen to all people because everyone has something different to bring to the table that may benefit the greater good.
Lastly, Darwish did not want to be wrapped up in the talking points of various parties. He does not talk socialist, progressive, or any other branch- instead, he talks about the greater good and also he talks positively about plans that will work for everyone.