Building on New Foundations > Standing Up, Reaching Out

Los Angeles

Omar Zaki

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Board member , CAIR–Southern California

We have to be more politically active. Americans don’t have much sympathy for those who have to register. But fighting for one group’s freedom strengthens everyone’s freedom.

CAIR is developing a community network, with individuals in different districts. We have watchdogs in each area – Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego – all of southern California. Our goal is to eventually do something like this nationally – to work with mayors, city councils, elected officials.

In order to humanize the Muslim constituency in every district, we need real grassroots voices. We need a way to mobilize, to distribute action alerts. We need to push voter registration. This is our opportunity to speak: our numbers are increasing in every election. By 2008, 2010, office seekers will be looking for us.

We need to find a way to partner with other like-minded groups and coalitions. Working through coalitions legitimizes the effort. It shows that we are not a “special interest” with unique concerns, but people working for equality and justice, in the economy, in education, in what our kids are watching on TV.