AMV’s Fourth Annual
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
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
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
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
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
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,
Tickets are $25.00 (includes dinner).
For more information please visit: www.amuslimvoice.org
Sameea Kamal and Adeel Iqbal contributed to this report