Chicago IL: Moin Haque, a well-known businessman from Chicago, and his better half, Saima Haque, organized a Breakfast Event with the objective to bring a large group of Asian-American Community Leaders and Illinois State Representatives under one roof. The purpose of this “Dialogue for Democracy” was to understand each other’s perspectives and also to find ways and means to ensure that democratic institutions in the US are led by the silent majority, rather than hijacked by the most vocal minority.
‘Lou’ Lang, who represents the 16th District of Illinois State since 1987 and serves as House Deputy Majority Leader, said that while he is concerned about the broader welfare of people, irrespective of their religion, race, color, social background, etc, he is keenly interested in knowing the unique aspirations of each and every community, including those of the Asian-Americans. “Today’s Breakfast Event, therefore, is a rich opportunity to acquire their perspective and also to share with them my expectations from them”, he added.
“Combating hate crime in the US with strong political will is one of the priorities of the Government”, said ‘Lou’ Lang and called upon different minority communities, including Asian-Americans, to pass on their concerns about hate crimes not only to their community leaders but also to elected officials, in order to strengthen the hands of the Government in putting an end to the hate crimes.
‘Lou’ Lang also highlighted, with a sense of disappointment, that approximately 30% people vote in elections and added that lack of interest in the democratic processes on the part of the staggering-70% of the population has dangerous consequences for them, their families, and next generation at large. He urged leaders of all the communities to create wider awareness about the importance of enriching democratic institutions in their personal interests and that of our Nation.
He advised talented people from different communities to join the political system of our Nation as their political career and contribute to it. “Otherwise, those candiates who have a view to serving their vested interests, will dominate and control this important organ of the society”, ‘Lou’ Lang added.
Stephanie A. Kifowit, who represents the 84th District of Illinois State, said that a small number of people, who represent a tiny minority, are creating much hate in society and thereby eroding the freedom of religion, freedom to associate, and freedom to enjoy life, all the attributes which make the US a great Nation.
“The people in general, who represent the silent majority, should come out of their respective shells, pay attention to the anti-social forces that are brewing, act decisively when wrong things are being done, cast their votes in elections for candidates that represent them, and play an active part in shaping of the political system of our Nation in order to counter the devisive designs of the most vocal minority in the society”, Stephanie added.
Stephanie called upon people belonging to all sections of society, including Asian-Americans, to find time for nation-building initiatives, as being too busy with the day-to-day routine is not in the interests of the Nation and their communities.
Aadil Farid, an eminent Community Leader, said that the cultural, religious, ethnic, gender, social, economic, linguistic, and racial diversity is the hallmark of the US society. “The networking among different sections of society results in better communication and strengthens democratic institutions”, Farid opined.
Farid stated that the recent events of hate-centric politics has triggered a strong desire among people, especially the youth who are turning 18, to take a proactive part in the electoral process not only to protect their faith, family, and freedom but also to defend the Great American Nation and its Universally-relevant Values.
“Armed with our preference for positive and inclusive politics, and committed to such core values as development, justice, peace, and tolerance, we can add great value to the democratic apparatus of the US and to its very fabric”, Farid added.
Aiman Beg, another renowned Community Leader, in his welcome address, said that 2016 is going to be a very important year considering the Presidential, State, and other Local elections. He further said that all sections of society, including the Asian-Americans, have a significant stake in the results of these elections. He added that, towards this, different Community Organizations should line up interactive sessions of their members with elected officials/candidates running for electoral offices so as to ensure that they understand each other’s vision, perspectives, and aspirations.
“We are Americans, irrespective of the ancesteral countries to which we belonged, and it is our duty to play a proactive role in the functioning of democratic institutions”, said Sadia Gul, a Social Activist. She added that Stephanie Kifowit and ‘Lou’ Lang are broad-minded, inclusive, and development-oriented persons, and above all, they are the true friends of Asian-Americans. She requested people to strengthen their hands by sustained engagement with them.
Ashfaq Hussain, a Senior Banker and a well-known Community Leader, called upon continued interaction, across different sections of society, in order to demolish the walls of hate.
Moin Haque, in his vote of thanks, said that his initiative to hold the Breakfast Event was only a humble beginning. “There is an urgent need to multiply these efforts towards creating a more informed, enlightened, and loving society”, he added.
The Illinois State Representatives, Community Leaders, and the participants unanimously thanked Moin Haque and Saima Haque for hosting the Breakfast Event.