At the 2014 Texas Democratic Convention which concluded last Saturday June 28 in Dallas, TX, one of the major news item of interest to the Muslim, Arab, South Asian (MASA) communities was the election of Emerge-USA Co-Chairman Mr. AJ Durrani to the position of Texas State Democratic Committeeman for Senate District 17. Mr. Durrani who lives in the greater Houston area was elected to represent Texans who live in SD17 which comprises parts of Harris, Fort Bend, and Brazoria Counties at the Democratic Party state-level operational and strategic leadership.
Election as a Committeeman or Committeewoman to the statutory Texas State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) for each of the 31 senate districts of Texas is a hotly contested position at the Democratic State Convention as it represents a two-year term at the highest elected state level of Democratic Party political leadership and representation.
Although several MASA community members attended the State Convention as Delegates from their respective localities, the election of Mr. Durrani represents not only a personal political achievement but also a demonstration and validation of coalition-building and collaboration with other communities. Since MASA delegates were not in sufficient numbers to influence the election solely by their numbers, the election of Mr. Durrani by a convincing margin was only possible due to his developing close working relationship with all other politically active communities as well as his long service to and leadership in grassroots democratic party political engagement. Mr. Durrani is the sole MASA community member among the 31 men or women elected from across the state of Texas.
For the past 8 years, AJ Durrani was on the SDEC representing the Asian American Democrats of Texas from which he retired this month as President. Mr. Durrani has been active in local Houston-area community organizations for over 25 years having held Shura (Board of Director) positions with the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH), and in Denver and New Orleans, and is presently the General Secretary of ISGH. He has been involved in the establishment of and providing executive management to Islamic schools, and recently retired from the Board of the Islamic Education Institute of Texas (IEIT), which operates six full-time Islamic schools. He has held leadership positions in mainstream civic, educational, and local community organizations like charitable institutions and school district committees. Mr. Durrani recently retired after a 34-year career as a petroleum engineering manager with a major oil company.
Emerge USA is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization, that seeks political empowerment for under-represented communities by encouraging active participation in the mainstream political spectrum. It stands for Empowering Motivating Educating Resourceful Grassroots Entities. The election of AJ Durrani is also the validation of Emerge USAâ€™s focus on â€œEmerging Participationâ€ as one of its four primary grassroots thrust areas, i.e. in full and in-depth involvement and engagement in the nationâ€™s major political parties. The other three being â€œEmerging Leadersâ€ which focuses on youth leadership development, â€œEmerging Votersâ€ which focuses on enhancing MASA voting in all elections, and â€œEmerging Dataâ€ which is an effort to keep an up-to-date database of MASA voters and their voting patterns. As part of its Emerging Participation focus, Emerge held workshops starting in December 2013 to educate MASA community members on party primary elections which resulted in increased MASA participation in the March 4, 2014 Primary Elections, the March 22 District Conventions, and finally to the recent party State Conventions.
For additional information about Emerge-USAâ€™s political activities in the greater Houston area, you can contact Emerge-Houston Regional Director Nabila Mansoor on Phone: 832.490.0264 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org