Naperville, IL, October 24, 2016: Moin Haque, a well-known businessman from Naperville, and his better half, Saima Haque, organized dinner at their residence in White Eagle on October 21, 2016 with the objective of bringing a large group of Asian-American community leaders and Illinois State Representatives and other elected officials as well as candidates running for local office 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. Moin in his opening statement emphasized that the Changes could only take place through education, diplomacy and legislation and organizing political events which have a lasting impact and can persuade and influence the policy maker to change and implement the laws in the best interest of common people.
Representative ‘Lou’ Lang, who has been representing the 16th District of Illinois since 1987 and currently serves as House Deputy Majority Leader, said that “we have the best elected officials and candidates representing in the state and Stephanie Kifowit is one of the outstanding persons who works with me in the house and for the community”. We are working on civil rights, hate crime legislation, better education, and keeping our community safe. He emphasized that this was an important election for all of us and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Presidential candidate is on the same page in terms of addressing the needs of the people. We should have candidates who can make us proud and someone who cares about the issues that face our community, whether it is Black, White, Muslim, Hindu, Asian, Jews, Rome, Arab, etc. While he is concerned about the broader welfare of people, irrespective of their religion, race, color or social background, he is keenly interested in knowing the unique aspirations of each and every community, including those of the Asian-Americans.
Representative Lang called upon different minority communities to voice their concerns about hate crimes not only to their community leaders but also to elected officials, in order to strengthen the Government in putting an end to the hate crimes. 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.
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 divisiveness in society thereby eroding the freedom of religion, freedom to associate, and freedom to enjoy life – all attributes which make the US a great Nation. She advised talented people from different communities to join the political system of our Nation as their political career and contribute to it. “Otherwise, those candidates who have a view to serving their vested interests, will dominate and control this important organ of the society. “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 divisive 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 routines is not in the interests of the Nation and their communities. She added that she is working on various initiatives such as keeping property taxes as low as possible, legislation for hate crime, supporting our veterans, creating jobs at home and keeping our families safe.
“Representative” Linda Chapa Lavia, 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”. Chapa Lavia applause the work done by Stephanie and urge all the community members to support her in all future endeavors.
Linda Holmes, IL State Senator, 42nd District who was one of the guest speakers at the event said that we represent the community and we always speak to our community to know their concern and what is most important to them, as we represent them in our district. She appreciated the support Asian American community has provided to Stephanie and urge all to keep supporting her to re-elect as state Representative once again.
Tony Michelassi, DuPage County Board member, District 5, Regina Brent, Moon Khan, candidate for DuPage County Recorder and Linda Chapa LaVia, who is running for the mayoral office in Aurora spoke and urged the Asian community to support them in their endeavors.
Shoaib Khadri, a local community leader highlighted some main issues faced by the community expressing a major concern about the recent division along racial and religious lines. He urged all elected officials to involve our youth in the political process and guide them so that we can encourage our next generation and requested them to support diversity in business. He advised the community to vote and encourage others to vote in this important election. He said that 2016 is going to be a very important year for 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 different community organizations should line up interactive sessions between the community members and elected officials to ensure better understanding of each other’s vision, perspectives, and aspirations.
“We are all Americans, irrespective of the ancestral countries to which we belonged, and it is our duty to play a proactive role in the functioning of democratic institutions”, said Imtiaz Rehman, a local entrepreneur and community leader. He 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. He requested people to strengthen this relationship through sustained engagement with them.
The floor was then opened for a Q&A session that was moderated by Shafeek Abooubaker, a local community leader.
Imtiaz Rehman, conducted the proceeding of the evening professionally and in his vote of thanks, said that his initiative to hold the evening 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 evening.
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