[Michigan, February 28, 2023]:
The American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) extends its sincere condolences to the family, friends, and the American anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) for the death of former US Senator James Abourezk. Abourezk died on February 24, 2023, surrounded by his family and loved ones.
Senator Abourezk was one of the primary founders of ADC in 1980 as the first established civil rights organization dedicated to fighting discrimination and racism against Americans of Arab descent. This was one of his most important achievements that continues to serve the community at large.
Senator Abourezk was the first high level Arab American elected official, elected to US Senate in 1973 representing South Dakota until 1979. His vision continues to inspire Arabs and Muslims to mobilize and participate in the political process to defend their constitutional rights.
The current success and the birth of several Arab and/or Muslim American civil and human rights organizations was truly inspired by leaders like him as well others who were with him, especially Dr. James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute.
Abourezk’s legacy will be remembered for generations to come. He helped shape Arab American history like no one else. Today many Arabs hold elected office and it is seen as normal and ordinary. Abourezk was a trailblazer. When you hear some Arab elected officials demean themselves by using foul language, thinking they are making a difference, one is reminded of Arab Americans like Abourezk who made all the difference in the world without resorting to crass behavior.
“Senator Abourezk was a class act, a remarkable man whose vision made a huge difference in the lives of Arab Americans,” said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director. “He is a source of pride to all Arab Americans and others who have devoted their lives to the fighting against all forms of illegal discrimination,” continued Hamad. “I go back serving the ADC from 1997 until 2013, where his vision was our driving force,” added Hamad. “His legacy is timeless,” concluded Hamad.
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