The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Michigan (ADC) held a fundraiser this past Friday which was attended by about 1,000 people. The fundraiser and gala awards ceremony was a large success, showcasing the lawyer-centric talents of an old Arab organization which has contributed for decades to the well being and protection of Arabs in America.
Among the speakers and performers at the event were many who have attained prominence on the national and international stages, including singer Yasmeen Suri, who sang the national anthem, Emcee Rhonda Walker of Channel 4 Detroit, Dearborn Mayor Jack Oâ€™Reilly, and many others including lawyer-comedian Amer Zahr.
Mayor Oâ€™Reilly pointed out the cosmopolitan nature of his hometown of Dearborn–which for many decades has been home to many Arabs of Syrian and Lebanese ancestry.
The ADC fundraiser was sponsored by many prominent and wealthy organizations, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), CVS Pharmacy, Ford Motor Company, Basha Diagnositcs, Delta Airways, Enterprise Rent A Car, Chase Bank, General Motors, McDonaldâ€™s, Life for Relief and Development, Best Buy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, State Farm Insurance, Walmart, Visteon, Royal Jordanian Airlines, and many others.
There were many references during the evening in support of veteran journalist Helen Thomas, who abruptly was forced to resign from her position as White House correspondent after many decades because of comments that she made about Israel and Palestine–the theme of these comments was that Ms. Thomas was a pioneer among Arab women in America who had been unjustly punished for speaking legitimate opinions.
She was referred to by the President of the ADC, Sara Najjar-Wilson, as â€œan icon of my heritage, my Lebanese-American heritage–to all the institutions that have espoused hatred against a 90-year-old woman, shame on you.â€
â€œNobody is free if we cannot discuss politically charged issues,â€ she said.
Najjar-Wilson explained that we all must be concerned when we cannot speak openly.
The ADC fundraiser was primarily a reflection of a nationwide organization that has grown to prominence and maturity through decades of hard work, and that still has much work to do to protect Arab Americans against discrimination.