Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Another slap in the face to Chicagoland's Arabs by Mayor Emanuel

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Office of New Americans (ONA) excludes Arabs
Mayor Rahm Emanuel again slapped Arab Americans in the face, disenfranchising more than 100,000 Arabs who live in Chicago and their children who attend Chicago schools.
Mayor Emanuel. who has a historic aversion of American Arabs because of his Israeli military service and his efforts to undermine President Barack Obama's push to force Israel to compromise, unveiled a new plan to help foreign born residents of the city participate, find jobs and contribute to the city's economy.
Emanuel was very careful to include three Muslims in his plan, but not one leader of any American Arab organizations. That's the "loophole" that people who hate Arabs always use in order to avoid doing anything with American Arabs. They find Muslims who speak for the Muslim community and who represent the Muslim community but who do not represent ANY Arab Organizations.
The fact is there are more than 7 million Muslims in the United States but only 22 percent of them are Arab Muslim. The remainder are African American (37 percent), Asian (27 percent) and others (14 percent).
In Chicago, the majority of the Arabs, though, are Christian Arabs. The largest group are Palestinian followed by Jordanians and Lebanese. In the Greater Chicagoland area, there are some 450,000 Arabs including in Chicago and the majority are Christian, also, with the largest group being Palestinians followed by Lebanese, and then Egyptian. There is a large group of non-Arab people from the Middle East who are Assyrian and who do not consider themselves Arab. Ask them. They will tell you.
I don't criticize the three individuals representing the Muslim American community. They do great work for their religious activism and community. But they don't represent the American Arabs at all.
And that is morally and ethically wrong for Mayor Emanuel to exclude Arabs.
Here is the Mayor's press releases, followed by the list of the appointees to the commission:
Mayor Emanuel Unveils First-Ever Chicago New Americans Plan

New Plan, Developed over Months of Community Conversations, Outlines 27 Distinct Initiatives That Can Create Thousands of Jobs and Boost the Ability of Chicago’s 560,000 Foreign-Born Residents to Fully Contribute to the City’s Growth

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Today, Mayor Emanuel released the Chicago New Americans Plan, which outlines 27 initiatives to build a thriving, diverse and welcoming city over the next three years. The plan, which is the first of its kind in the nation, highlights the potential economic impact when the City supports the creation and expansion of immigrant-owned businesses; develops, attracts, and retains talent and expertise from other countries; and aims to bolster the City’s status as a vibrant and welcoming international city.

“With residents from over 140 countries and more than 100 languages spoken in our city, Chicago is a city of immigrants,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These immigrants are small business owners, teachers, parents, clergymen, elected officials, and leaders in our communities. This is why I am committed to making Chicago the most immigrant friendly city in the nation. I thank the ONA Advisory Committee for assisting us in developing a plan that will ensure Chicago continues to thrive and grow and attract the world’s leading human capital to compete in the 21st century global economy and beyond.” 

By implementing the initiatives listed in the Chicago New Initiatives Plan, the plan proposes to create thousands of jobs by increasing the growth of immigrant small and medium sized businesses and by doubling the exports of immigrants businesses. The plan also states that making early childhood options and summer enrichment opportunities more available to immigrant parents will increase savings later; for each dollar spent on early-childhood education, seven dollars in savings are coming.

In July 2011, Mayor Rahm Emanuel created the Office of New Americans and set the goal for Chicago to become the world’s most immigrant-friendly city. Just months later, the Mayor convened an advisory committee comprised of 50 leaders representing Chicago’s business, academic, civic and philanthropic communities. The goal of the advisory committee was to identify challenges unique to immigrants, recommend initiatives to be implemented over the next three years, and develop a detailed implementation plan for the Office of New Americans and its partners.

The Chicago New Americans Plan recommends a broad array of new programs and initiatives, which are designed to improve the day-to-day lives of immigrants while promoting Chicago’s economic growth and cultural vitality.

The plan’s 27 initiatives are grouped into three categories: Our Growth, Our Youth, and Our Communities. The three categories are divided into eight subgroups which will focus on economic opportunities, human capital, education, public safety, health, city services, civic engagement and ensuring that Chicago remains a place where diversity is welcomed and celebrated.

“The Chicago New Americans Plan is an economic improvement and community development tool that will be a national model for creating a city that welcomes and incorporates the immigrant community into all city services and programs,” said Celena Roldan, Executive Director, Erie Neighborhood House. “Historically serving immigrants since 1870, Erie Neighborhood House is committed to empowering the immigrant community through the Mayor’s New American Plan and applauds his efforts to make Chicago the most immigrant friendly city in the country.”

"As one of the most rapidly growing immigrant groups in the Chicago area, South Asian Americans appreciates having a voice as the city considers how to make the city more inclusive and leverage the great potential of all immigrant groups,” said  Ami Gandhi, South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI).

"Our humanity is enhanced by our differences; we build Chicago knowing that our diversity represents our strength and our best selves,” said Jerry Doyle, Vice Provost, Illinois Institute of Technology. “The Mayor's announcement today reminds us all that we are ONE Chicago; that as we welcome, embrace, and celebrate New Americans we draw upon and renew the long-standing tradition of Chicago as a city of immigrants upon whose shoulders we have launched the dreams of millions; a city whose voice and achievements serve as a beacon for all to aspire to - including ourselves."

To make Chicago the world’s most immigrant-friendly city, the City will effectively manage the implementation and success of this plan. The Office of New Americans will utilize a multi-tiered scorecard to measure initiative implementation and results. The scorecard will also evaluate the extent to which the initiatives together are improving economic, civic, and cultural vitality for Chicago.

The ONA collaborated with Civic Consulting Alliance, A.T. Kearney, and Downtown Partners Chicago, all of whom provided their support on a pro-bono basis, in the development of the plan.

The Chicago New Americans Plan was unveiled at the Erie Neighborhood House, a place historically serving immigrants since 1870. The Chicago New Americans Plan and a full list of initiatives are available at http://www.cityofchicago.org/newamericans.


ONA Advisory Council Members in their respective subgroups:

Economic Opportunities:
Omar Duque, President and Chief Executive Officer, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Nilda Esparza, Executive Director, Little Village Chamber of Commerce
Sue Gin, Chief Executive Officer, Flying Food Groups
Liz Griffiths, Executive Director, Albany Park Chamber of Commerce
Luis Gutierrez, Executive Director, Latinos Progresando
Michael Mini, Director Government Relations, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce George
Chunkau Mui, Global Business Consultant, U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency
Rob Paral, Principal,Rob Paral and Associates
Jaz Park, Board Member, Korean American Association of Chicago
Alberto Senior, Senior Exec., Miller Coors
Alejandro Silva, Chief Executive Officer, Evans Food Group
Roberto Rodrigues, Professor, University of Chicago

Human Capital and Education:
Nancy Aardema, Executive Director, Logan Square Neighborhood Association
Ana Bedard, Associate Director, St. Augustine Institute for Workforce Education
Tanya Cabrera, Associate Director, Illinois Institute of Technology
Gerald P. Doyle, Vice Provost, Illinois Institute of Technology
Roberto Gonzalez, Assistant Professor, University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
Jill Kushner Bishop, President, Multilingual Connections
Clara Lopez, Vice President , El Valor
Juan Rangel, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Organization (UNO)
Harold Rice, Executive Director, Albany Park Community Center
Juan Salgado, President, Instituto del Progreso Latino
Rebecca Tancredi, Managing Director, Upwardly Global - Chicago Office

Safety, Health and Access to city services:
Walter "Slim" Coleman, Reverend, Centro Sin Fronteras
Ahlam Jbara, Interim Executive Director, The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
Kathleen Jung Hee Fernicola, Policy Director, Asian American Institute
Viviana Martinez, Chief of Staff, Office of Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia
Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, National Immigration Justice Center
Katya Nuques, Associate Director, Enlace Chicago
Caroline Orzac Shoenberger, Director, Chicago Legal Clinic
Maria Pesqueira, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mujeres Latinas en Accion
Sima Qureshi, Executive Director, Muslim Women's Resource Center
Celena Roldan, Executive Director, Erie Neighborhood House
Layla Suleiman Gonzalez, Director Office of Strategic Planning, Illinois Department of Human Services
Tania Uzueta, Advocacy Coordinator, LGBTQ Immigrant Rights Project - ALMA
Bernie Wong, Executive Director, Chinese American Service League

Civic engagement, Diversity welcomed and celebrated:
Lawrence Benito, Executive Director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights
Dalila Fridi, Senior Technical Application Analyst, Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Ami Gandhi, Executive Director, South Asian American Policy and Research Institute
Maricela Garcia, Executive Director, Gads Hill Center
Alie Kabba, Executive Director, United African Organization
Gary Kenzer, Executive Director, Polish American Association
Emma Lozano, Founder, Centro Sin Fronteras
Denise Martinez, Director of Office of New Americans, Office of the Governor
Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR Chicago
Rebecca Sanders, Executive Director, Chicago Cultural Alliance
Freddy Santiago, Pastor, El Rebano Church
Elena Segura, Director, Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigrant Education, Archdiocese of Chicago

1 comment:

Ray Hanania said...

A followup ... some note correctly that two of the Muslim representatives are Arab. They are. But the issue is they are not invited as Arabs. They are invited as representatives of Muslim Organizations. The Muslim Organizations decide who represents them, not Mayor Emanuel. He didn't invite them because they were Arab. He invited the Muslim organizations to participate and, in my opinion, excluded Arab groups and Arab leaders from Chicago. That's a very significant point. Here.