To the editor:
As proud members of the Arab American community and as former and current members and leaders of the Arab Student Union at UM-Dearborn, we are compelled to write in response to a piece of election mail sent out to Dearborn’s Arab American households which we believe was distasteful and counterproductive.
There were mixed reactions in the community to a decision by the Arab American Political Action Committee (AAPAC) to endorse 19th District Court Judge Mark Somers for re-election.
The Arab Student Union has and will continue to support AAPAC in its work to endorse and bring victory to candidates that seek the support and promote the interests of the community. Despite our disagreement with the endorsement of Judge Somers, we can not and will not accept an attack on the integrity and legitimacy of any of our community’s institutions.
Some supporters of candidate and attorney Candyce Ewing Abbatt decided it would be beneficial to her candidacy to send out a letter which attacked AAPAC for claiming to “represent the entire community.” We believe the signers on this letter were misled and that the letter itself was counterproductive. The net effect was to put some members of the community in direct conflict with others at the polls. This is unfortunate and we cannot accept it.
Despite some self-acknowledged mistakes, AAPAC has brought tremendous success to many candidates who have helped our community. On Tuesday, AAPAC was instrumental in ousting an entrenched incumbent school board member in favor of a good incumbent and a fair-minded challenger. AAPAC’s endorsements and the community’s support have brought victory to candidates who ran against and defeated those trying to marginalize our voices, and we are proud of this.
We believe Ms. Abbatt was the better choice for judge. We hope that one day she will be a successful, AAPAC – endorsed candidate. We will inevitably have to agree to disagree on certain candidates. However, we will not accept that certain members of the community divide us intentionally or unintentionally or attack any of our institutions. The ASU and AAPAC will remain united partners in fighting the good fight for our community.
President, Arab Student Union-University or Michigan, Dearborn
Tarek M. Baydoun
Former President, Arab Student Union-University or Michigan, Dearborn