[Michigan, September 28, 2022]:
There is no doubt that the City of Dearborn’s farewell dinner that will be held on Monday, October 24, 2022, honoring Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, is an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge Congresswoman Debbie Dingell’s services to Dearborn and to all its residents during her tenure representing Dearborn within her Congressional District. Her exemplary service continued her late husband John Dingell’s legacy of service to the city.
The Dingells gave many years of dedicated service to Dearborn. Both icons of leadership and a model for resolute public servants, rarity these days. Both John and Debbie shared the same values. Representative Debbie Dingell continues to fight for her constituency’s interests and to make laws that benefit the whole country.
Both Dingells served the public with profound respect, dignity, and integrity. Both were humble and sustained an open-door policy even to those who present themselves as adversaries and opponents. They never took issues personally nor held a grudge against people. They welcomed the input of everyone. They never hesitated to join all segments of the community’s events, occasions, religious and civic activities, ceremonies, and celebrations.
John and Debbie resembled the true model of leadership. Both strived to service the public with passion and convictions. Both made sure to be inclusive by including all stakeholders. We often miss this inclusiveness with many lawmakers, who by default or by design, end up excluding key stakeholders from conversations on important topics that they have a stake in.
I had the honor of working with both on countless issues and both were always responsive. We may not have agreed on everything, but all sustained the ultimate mutual respect. Both never allowed the disagreements or difference of opinion to ruin a relationship and end the dialogue. On the contrary, they kept that unique touch to their interactions with their constituents.
People are tested by crises. In Dearborn, most of us recall the aftermath of the September 11 terrorists’ attacks and the impact on the nation. The Dearborn experience was unique. Dearborn was at the center of the national attention due to its highly visible Arab and Muslim American community. The state of fear and anxiety gripped many people’s lives. At that time, it was both Debbie and John Dingell who walked the streets and called upon the community at large to form a protective shield for all in Dearborn. These days were the toughest that that community had to deal with amidst an unprecedented wave of negative backlash and anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment. The fear of hate crimes was real. It was the Dingells who were there to empower the community to meet the challenge.
In addition, the late John Dingell was instrumental, along with the late US Senator Carl Levin, in encouraging and supporting the community at large in its engagement with all the government agencies and the US attorney’s office. They said the Patriot Act is a reality and it will affect your communities. It is time to engage with the agencies who will be implementing the law. It was their guidance and support that helped me and other community leaders to found and create the first model of government- Arab and Muslim community engagement forum, BRIDGES. I co-chaired it since its inception until 2013. Such experience inspired other cities and states to duplicate it.
The Dingells’ history is an integral part of Dearborn’s history and fabric. People will continue to recall with fondness their service to the city. It is an honorable history and outstanding public service experience. Rep. Dingell has a new district to represent. The new district is lucky to have her as their new congressional representative. I am sure she will serve her new constituents honorably and faithfully.
We thank Mayor Hammoud for taking the initiative with the recognition of the Dingells. Representative Debbie Dingell deserved a celebration reflecting Dearborn’s rich diversity. We wish you many years of health and happiness.
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