DEARBORN— On Friday, December 7 the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Michigan (ADC) held their 32nd Annual Benefit Gala: 'Telling Our Story. Writing Our Narrative,' at the Greenfield Manor banquet hall. Over 900 attendees including government officials, foreign dignitaries, activists, and community members shared an evening of speeches and awards. ADC National President Warren David and ADC Director of Policy and Legal Affairs, Abed Ayoub were also in attendance.
The Mistress of Ceremonies was Glenda Lewis, Anchor and Reporter of WXYZ Channel 7 News. Lewis began the evening by introducing ADC Regional Director Imad Hamad, along with ADC Case & Redress Coordinator Kristyn Taylor, who thanked the audience for their continued support.
Lewis then welcomed Congressman John Dingell to the stage, who discussed the importance of an organization like the ADC, stating that they continue to fight for the freedoms and rights of minorities on behalf of the U.S. Constitution. Congressman Dingell gave a special tribute to the organization, honoring them with an American Flag, as a way to thank them for continuing to make the American Dream a possibility for many in the community.
|ADC-MI Regional Director Imad Hamad discussed the win of 19th District Court Judge Sam Salamey and congratulated the Palestinians over their recent recognition at the UN.|
President Warren David and Mr. Ayoub also touched base on the recent developments with Palestine and the UN. Allen congratulated the Palestinians for the recent, momentous vote and spoke about the various initiatives ADC is implementing on a national level, in pursuit of its mission.
"For over 32 years the ADC Michigan team has done an exemplary job of representing us on a local and regional level. We look forward to their continued success as they advocate and defend civil rights in Michigan," David stated.
During the Award ceremony, the ADC honored several leaders who have set a precedent for the community. Judge David Allen, from the 3rd Circuit Court presented the Arab American Entrepreneur Award to Ali Siblani, President and CEO of EnvisionTec. An electrical engineering graduate from Lawrence Tech, Siblani's company has shaped and re-imagined the world of 3-Dimensional printing. With over 100 patents worldwide, the company has impacted different market areas, ranging from hearing aid software, to jewelry designs, as well as the dental industry, where he helped develop the first printed tooth for direct placement in the mouth.
Siblani, who earlier this year offered to give ADC-Michigan $250,000 in order to keep their building located on Chase Rd from being foreclosed, told the audience that he decided to keep the main headquarters of his company in Dearborn, because he wanted to share his success with the community. He pointed out that many other community members have also made a lasting impact on Michigan's economy.
"We decided to keep our headquarters in Michigan, particularly in Dearborn, because it gives us a chance to share our successes with the community and enforce it from Dearborn...We all know this community faces many challenges, but it also presents a lot of opportunities. Civil rights and civil liberties continues to be a serious challenge for all Americans, regardless of background, color or beliefs," Siblani stated.
Siblani referenced a famous quote by President John F. Kennedy: “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are
|Ali Siblani, President and CEO of EnvisionTec was honored by ADC-MI with the Arab American Entrepreneur Award. |
"Just look at this community and the investments it has made in southeastern Michigan. This is why today more than ever, we need strong and striving organizations such as the ADC," Siblani added.
Receiving the Educator of the Year award was Hiam Turfe Brinjikji, a teacher and counselor from Crestwood High School. In February 2012, Brinjikji put her job on the line when she filed a complaint against the school, citing unequal treatment towards ESL students and the Arab American staff at the district. As a result of her complaints, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission both launched investigations against the district.
"My belief is that denying children their educational rights is a form of oppression that creates social inequity. Children who are learning English as a second language often lag behind in the skills necessary to start reading, and the gap remains throughout the school years. It is the responsibility of schools to bridge that gap by providing educational equity and multicultural appreciation to the over 5 million English language learners as they navigate through our richly diverse American culture, so they can assimilate to become better citizens and active participants in our great democracy," Brinjikji stated.
Also honored was the Michigan Arab Orchestra, who received the Building Bridges Award, presented by Attorney Joumana Kayrouz. Dr. Samar Al Shamsi received the Excellence in the Arts Award, presented by DIA Public Relations Director Pamela Marcil. Scott Taylor, President of Landstar Supply Chain Solutions received the Community Service Award, being recognized for his philanthropic efforts through various charities and relief projects. The award was presented by Attorney Fatina Abdrabboh.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non-profit, non-sectarian and non-partisan, is the largest grassroots Arab-American civil rights and civil liberties organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980 by former Senator James Abourezk. ADC has a national network of chapters and members in all 50 states. For more information on the organization, visit www.adcmichigan.org.