AMV’s Fourth Annual Peace Convention
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

The American Muslim Voice, a leading community-building and civil rights group, will hold its fourth annual peace convention on December 9 at Chandni Restaurant in Newark, California. The convention theme, “Assimilation and integration - How about a new inclusive nation?” aims to shed light on the role of race and culture in present-day America.
The convention will have the following distinguished speakers and panelists:
Neal Katyal, Georgetown University Professor of Law. “Hamdan is simply the most important decision on presidential power and the rule of law ever,” according to former Solicitor General and Duke Law professor Walter Dellinger. Katyal previously served as National Security Advisor in the US Justice Department and was commissioned by President Clinton to write a report on the need for more legal pro bono work. Raised in a suburb of Chicago, Neal is the son of Indian immigrants.
Ronald Takaki, UC Berkeley Professor. Ron Takaki is one of the most preeminent scholars of our nation who has taught over 10,000 students in 34 years. Takaki will deliver the keynote address. “The whole question of who is an American is being redefined today. To be an American meant to be European in ancestry. That is no longer true as not all of us came from Europe,” Takaki says. “I think this conference is raising the issue of who is an American and what does it mean to be an American. It’s a promise and a hope that we can become a new inclusive nation, where we will respect our ethnicity,” he says of the conference theme.
He received his PhD in American history from UC Berkeley. While teaching at UCLA, he helped to found its centers for African American, Asian American, Mexican American, and Native American studies. In 1995, Takaki attended two seminars on race at Vice President Al Gore’s home to advise him; in 1997, he attended a White House meeting with President Bill Clinton to help brainstorm ideas for his major speech, “One America in the 21st Century: The President’s Initiative on Race.” Significantly, Clinton took the dialogue on race beyond the black-white binary, and presented an inclusive definition of Americans as a diverse people belonging to one nation. Professor Takaki is the author of 11 books.
Cindy Sheehan, American anti-war activist. Cindy Sheehan’s quest began when her son Casey died on a mission in Iraq in April 2004. Instead of surrendering to grief, she decided her son’s passing would push her to fight to end warfare in Iraq, bring soldiers home and hold officials responsible for their decisions.
Brandon Mayfield, Oregon lawyer and converted Muslim falsely accused in the 2004 Madrid bombings. After his victory in court, he sought justice, not only for himself, but for all through his lawsuit against the government, demanding that the PATRIOT Act be declared unconstitutional.
Dolores Huerta, President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder of the United Farm Workers with Cesar E. Chavez. As the main negotiator for the UFW, she obtained many “firsts” that had been denied to farm workers: toilets in the fields along with soap, water and paper towels, cold drinking water with individual paper cups, the Robert F. Kennedy medical plan that covered farm worker families, the Juan de la Cruz pension fund (paid for by employers), job security, seniority rights, rest periods, paid vacations and holidays, and protections from pesticides in union contracts.
Khalil Bendib, Renowned political cartoonist and author of Mission Accomplished: Wicked Cartoons by America's Most Wanted Political Cartoonist.
First Panel Discussion: Protecting civil and human rights for all
Moderated by Paul George, Director of Peninsula Peace and Justice Center of Palo Alto
Featured panelists: Elden Rosenthal, Civil Rights Attorney ; Rick Callender, President of the Silicon Valley NAACP; Julia Harumi Mass, staff Attorney for ACLU Northern CA ; Hope Marston, West Region Organizer for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Second Panel Discussion: America: “One nation under God”?
Moderated by Teresa Castellanos, Program Manager IRIS - Office of Human Relations.
Featured panelists: Dolores Huerta, President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation; Lillian Litzsey, Chair of the Black Women Organized for Political Action; Habibe Husain, Founder of Rahima Foundation; Richard Hobbs, Director of the Office of Human Relations.
AMV will honor distinguished community members for their services.
Cultural entertainment: Mehndi Ki Raat, a traditional pre-wedding fun filled bridal henna party with songs and cultural ceremonies.
Samina Faheem Sundas, AMV’s Executive Director, says the convention is an occasion to celebrate diversity and the values that all human beings hold regardless of race, religion, or creed. “We strive to create a culture of peace, acceptance, mutual respect and harmony. It would be great to live in a nation that truly values all of its residents. It is our responsibility to create that community. Let us build ‘a beloved community’ where all of us feel accepted, cherished, respected and at home. This is the mission of our organization.”
When: Sun Dec 9th, 2007. Time: 2:30 -9:30
Where: Chandni Restaurant 5748 Mowry School Road, Newark, CA.
Tickets are $25.00 (includes dinner).
For more information please visit: www.amuslimvoice.org
Sameea Kamal and Adeel Iqbal contributed to this report


 

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