By Farah Harb
The Arab American News – intern
DETROIT — The Arab American and Chaldean Council held its 38th annual gala under the theme “Promoting Drug-Free Communities” at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center on Oct. 27.
The annual ACC gala celebrates the organization’s anniversary and honors individuals who affect change in the community.
The event accommodated an estimate of 750 guests, including Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Dina Kawar, the Jordanian ambassador to the U.S.
“The gala provides ACC with an opportunity to promote our mission, vision and to also bring together a wide range of community members from various professional fields and cultures,” Communications Director Mervat Jaafar told The AANews.
The ACC raises funds through gala sponsorships and ticket sales the organization uses to benefit its educational and refugee initiatives.
“We are trying to raise money to make a difference in the community,” Jaafar said.
This year, the ACC honored Arab American Civil Rights League founder Nabih Ayad with the Civil Rights Award for his achievements at the ACRL, which aims to serve and protect the community’s civil rights.
Oakland Community Health Network Executive Director and CEO Willie Brooks received with the Community Service Award for leadership and service to the Oakland County residents.
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans received the Community Leadership Award for his efforts in bringing reformation to county government and for implementing policies that aim at improving the overall health of the county.
House Speaker Tom Leonard was also honored with a State Leadership Award. Elected to the State House in November 2012, Leonard’s district encompasses Clinton County and portions of Gratiot County. He was elected speaker of the House last November.
Midtown Detroit President Susan Mosey received the Economic Development Award. She’s served at Midtown Detroit for 25 years and was named by Crain’s Detroit Business as one of the Most Influential Women in 2007 and was one of the 2011 Newsmakers of the Year.
Mosey also previously served as planning director at the University Cultural Center Association (UCCA), where she focused on community development.
CODE Legal Aid President and Director Nadine Yousif also received a Civil Rights Award. Yousif was part of the CODE Legal Aid and ACLU team of lawyers who drafted a class action complaint that halted the deportation of detainees from Michigan in June. She was also co-counsel in a case that stopped the deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqis.
A dinner and entertainment segment followed the presentation of the awards.
The President and CEO of the ACC is Haifa Fakhouri. Under her leadership, the ACC serves more than 80,000 clients in metropolitan Detroit. The organization’s programs include Pantry of Plenty – a bi-monthly food distribution event at its Detroit office, public health, WIC, behavioral health, employment and training, social services and youth and recreational programs.