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    04-May-2017

Sixth Annual “Muslim Day at the Capitol” Draws Record Crowd in Sacramento

 

Washington Report

 

“Action Trumps Fear” was the theme of the sixth annual “Muslim Day at the Capitol” hosted by the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA). The election of Donald J. Trump and his attempts to implement a discriminatory travel ban, flawed immigration policy and federal budget cuts for education drew more than 700 Muslims to Sacramento on April 24, the highest number of attendees in the event’s history.

 
“We will continue to stand for justice regardless of who’s in the White House,” CAIR Los Angeles executive director Hussam Ayloush assured the large crowd, which came from all over the Golden State. “We do not let others determine our agenda. We’re doing what is right because this is the teaching of our religion. We stand for justice, and against racism, for all people.”
 
At a mid-morning press conference CAIR-CA, together with government officials and civic leaders, highlighted the following legislative priorities:
 
California Religious Freedom Act (SB31), which prohibits a state or local agency from participating in a federal program to create a database on a person’s religious beliefs, national origin or ethnicity for law enforcement or immigration purposes.
California Values Act (SB54), which would ensure that state and local resources are notused to fuel mass deportations, and that public schools, state health facilities and courthouses remain safe and accessible to all state residents, regardless of immigration status.
Hate Crime Reporting Standards (AB158), which would establish uniform hate crime reporting standards for all law enforcement agencies and ensure that hate crimes are properly recorded by officers at the local level.
Safe Place to Learn Act (AB1318), which would require the Education Department to assess whether the local educational agency has provided information to all employees on supporting students who face bias or bullying, as well as resources that support youth and families who have been subjected to these traumas.                                                                                                                                                                                          
“These days we are in right now are darker than any of us, I think, are able to remember,” California state Assembly member David Chiu (D-San Francisco), author of AB1318, told reporters gathered on the Capitol grounds. “If Donald Trump has declared war on the Muslim community, he has declared war on all of us. From my perspective, if he is saying he is going after the Muslim community, it is our responsibility as legislators to say, ‘Mr. Trump, you’re going to have to come through us!’”  
 
Jewish Voice for Peace representative David Mandel urged the community members to stand together “because when they come for some of us they come for all of us. The attacks today are on Muslims,” he said. “Yesterday it maybe was on Jews, and who knows who it is going to be on tomorrow.”
 
Other speakers included Andy Noguchi of the Japanese American Citizens League, Florin chapter; California Secretary of State Alex Padilla; California state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D–Bell Gardens), author of SB31, co-sponsored by CAIR-CA; Andrew Medina of Asian Americans Advancing Justice–California, a co-sponsor along with CAIR-CA of AB1318; and CAIR executive directors Basim Elkarra (Sacramento Valley), Hanif Mohebi (San Diego) and Zahra Billoo (San Francisco Bay Area).
 
Throughout the day, participants met with their state legislators or staff members to urge them to support these important bills, which affect the civil rights of all Californians.
 
“We hope through this event that we show California and the nation that only through action and civic engagement and advocacy will we be able to trump Islamophobia, bigotry, xenophobia and defend our civil rights as a nation,” Yannina Casillas, CAIR–CA legislative and government affairs coordinator, told the enthusiastic group at the program’s conclusion.
 
 

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