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Tag: Community Organizing


Building Community Power, One Vote at a Time

Arab society in the United States has regularly been labeled a “one-issue” voting bloc.  Unsurprisingly, this epithet comes from the familiar notion that when it comes to national politics our people formulate their electoral engagement—or lack thereof—purely according to issues of American foreign policy. During the past few months, AAA-NY has displayed its intention to bury that reputation, embarking on a voter registration project that aims to build community power by getting people in our neighborhood prepared vote on the local issues that matter.

The month of July proved to be a strong kick start, the Annual Arab American Bazaar being a primary point of success. On the 8th of July volunteers and canvassers managed to pull in over one hundred votes in just a few hours, proving that there are people in our community who do want to take part in the electoral process.

Whether or not Arabs are “one-issue” voters has arguably not stood the test of time. Like other recent immigrants to the United States, Arabs are often least likely to make it to the polls. In response to this reality AAA-NY has teamed up with other community organizations in Congressional District 13 to form the Verrazano Coalition. By collaborating with Make the Road Staten Island, Project Hospitality and El Centro, AAANY will be able to increase its capacity and effectiveness.

Voter registration canvassing teams have been hitting the streets of Bay Ridge with regularity. Youth energy has propelled these efforts, with our primary canvassing team being composed of keen and knowledgeable high school students. The evidence of their abilities can be found in the numerous videos and photos our Community Organizing Interns have taken and distributed through social media. Without their enthusiasm and commitment, our achievements thus far would be substantially more modest.

As a final part of our voter registration drive, look forward to our candidate’s forum on the 11th of October. People from the community will be able to directly address our representatives and understand their platforms and intentions. All in all, the entire project has been an illustration of this organization’s resourcefulness and tenacity.

And if you’re not registered to vote please come in today and ask to be registered. We’re all looking forward to seeing you at the polls!

Zayd Sifri, Voter Registration Fellow
August 14, 2012 Posted by admin in Blog

Memo from the AD

Wow. What an incredibly busy summer we have had at AAANY. We just completed our first audit – having made just shy of 350,000 in 2011. We look forward to only expanding to do more of the work we are so well positioned to do. Youth Programs, ESL, Naturalization Assistance, Deferred Action, Voter Reg? You name it, when it comes to empowering new Arab and Muslim Americans, we got it.

We are pleased to find out from the Proteus Fund that we will be able to hire a full time community organizing and advocacy coordinator. This will only add to the already incredibly strong team. We are also fortunate to have been able to hire Zayd as a voter registration fellow.

“Zayd Sifri grew up in the United Arab Emirates. He studied history with a focus on the Middle East at Columbia University in New York City. He likes working at AAANY because he believes in the transformative potential of organising with the Arab community in Brooklyn. Some of his interests are global movement building, community empowerment, journalism and cooking.”

On top of all that, he is a dynamic player who is the first line of attack for the times when we don’t have enough caseworkers at the time.  Aber Kawas, a seasoned community organizer who was an early mentee of Linda, and NYU student, is organizing a Community Empowerment Fellowship. For any high school or college students, this is an excellent opportunity to gain substantial experience and earn a stipend of $250. Click here for more information – email to apply. Please pass on this opportunity to anyone you think would be interested.

This is our final push to register 1000 new voters – 3,500 with the “Verrazano Coalition” in a partnership with Make the Road-NY.

  Mohamad Ismail and Kitaab Camp Coordinator, Kayla Jackson have run an incredibly successful program. Read our blog to find out more. On Thursday we will have a ceremony for all our 9 SYEP Participants(Summer Youth Employment Program).

Ayisha Irfan has been crushing it; building a street team of community organizers of over 10 and inspiring youth. We are happy welcome both Roweida and Katie back from their vacations. Their combination is undoubtedly Katie was an AmeriCorps member, doubled the size of our program, and there is no current funding to support this Click this link to donate (or buy a cookbook for $20 -- made by her class with recipes spanning the Arab World, 80 pages Arabic/English). If funding an incredibly competent person who plans on teaching English to over 150 students isn’t worth supporting, I don’t know what is.

Mark your calandars for November 9th, which will be our Gala at Grand Prospect Hall. Tickets will be on sale soon.

Peace be upon you,