VIRGINIA

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” John Maxwell

The Emerging Leaders Program builds a pipeline of ethical, well informed, diverse, and prepared individuals, ready to serve as civic leaders in their communities and across the state and country. At the end of this six-month program, participants are connected with internship opportunities within government and civics in order to utilize the skills they learned throughout their time in Emerging Leaders.

Why Apply?

College students often are often pressured to focus solely on textbook and lecture-led education; during the Emerging Leaders: Leadership Program retreat participants practice team-building skills in realistic, hands-on scenarios, as well as fostering lifelong relationships with like-minded colleagues and dedicated mentors.
All Emerging Leaders graduates are assisted individually to secure an internship in their field of interest once the program is completed.

Who Should Apply?

The Emerging Leaders program is looking for dedicated and motivated college age and graduate students from Florida, Texas and Virginia to participate in the 2015-2016 class of Emerging Leaders. Emerge USA is an organization that is dedicated to ensuring our country’s minority communities have the same constitutional rights, social privileges, and political opportunities afforded to all Americans.  Therefore, all applicants must represent an underrepresented community and be registered college students or recently graduated. Visit your State to see Application Deadlines.

EMERGING VOTERS

The Emerging Voters program includes voter registration campaigns, absentee ballot drives, candidate forums, statewide phone banking and organizing early voting events. These activities create opportunities for candidates and elected officials to interact with community members so they can learn about and discuss issues that are important to them.

“Emerge’s voter guide provided all the information and was a tremendous resource in helping voters make an informed decision about our locally and nationally elected officials.” -Dr. Hajira Shujaat, 35, Orlando

VIRGINIA’S HEALTHCARE FUTURE-TOWN HALL

February 09, 2017 5:19 PM

With the Affordable Care Act being repealed, the fate of our Commonwealth’s healthcare system and the over 400,000 Virginians without healthcare demands immediate attention.

THE CASE AGAINST “ISLAMOPHOBIA” – CIVIC ENGAGEMENT & THE 2016 ELECTION

April 25, 2016 4:12 PM

The best way to become a victim and play that role with no end in sight is to use terminology that forces you to be stuck in a self-deprecating cycle, in a box of your own making full of loaded emotions, in a world .

ARE YOU READY FOR VIRGINIA’S 2016’S LEGISLATIVE SESSION?

December 16, 2015 10:15 AM

It isn’t just the holiday season. With a month to go before the start of Virginia’s 2016 Legislative Session, this is the time where the Commonwealth’s American Muslims should be gearing up for their asks of law makers.

About Us

Emerge USA is a 501c(4) that seeks to engage, educate and empower Muslim, South Asian and Arab American (MASA) communities through educational events, voter initiatives, and leadership development for the purpose of creating a community of equitable, knowledgeable and motivated citizens.

Emerge USA Foundation, a 501c(3), also politically empowers and trains its constituents to be engaged and active citizens. The foundation has three programs that help fulfill this mission: Emerging Leaders, Emerging Voters, and Emerging Data.

We currently have chapters in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Texas. Our goal is to build civic and political capacity in the MASA communities in these states, while continuing to identify other states for future expansion.

PRIVACY POLICY: Emerge USA Inc. is the sole owner of the information collected on this site. We only have access to/collect information that you voluntarily give us via email, sign-up via the website and/or other direct contact from you. We will not sell or rent this information to anyone. We will not share your information with any third party outside of our organization.

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Emerging Leader

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” John Maxwell

The Emerging Leaders Program builds a pipeline of ethical, well informed, diverse, and prepared individuals, ready to serve as civic leaders in their communities and across the state and country. At the end of this six-month program, participants are connected with internship opportunities within government and civics in order to utilize the skills they learned throughout their time in Emerging Leaders.

Why Apply?

College students often are often pressured to focus solely on textbook and lecture-led education; during the Emerging Leaders: Leadership Program retreat participants practice team-building skills in realistic, hands-on scenarios, as well as fostering lifelong relationships with like-minded colleagues and dedicated mentors.
All Emerging Leaders graduates are assisted individually to secure an internship in their field of interest once the program is completed.

Who Should Apply?

The Emerging Leaders program is looking for dedicated and motivated college age and graduate students from Florida, Texas and Virginia to participate in the 2015-2016 class of Emerging Leaders. Emerge USA is an organization that is dedicated to ensuring our country’s minority communities have the same constitutional rights, social privileges, and political opportunities afforded to all Americans.  Therefore, all applicants must represent an underrepresented community and be registered college students or recently graduated. Visit your State to see Application Deadlines.

ELECTION DAY 2016: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

November 07, 2016 12:00 PM

 Election day is Tuesday, November 8th, 2016. Polls Open 7 am to 7 pm.

EMERGE USA HIT THE AIRWAVES THIS ELECTION SEASON

November 03, 2016 1:12 PM

Emerge USA has been hitting the radio this election season. Our goal, as always, is to get people out and engaged in the political process.

MEDIA LINKS

November 01, 2016 2:21 PM

Emerge USA has been in the news this past election season. Check out some of the things we’ve been up to: Muslim Voters Ready to Vote Amid Growing AnxietyHouston Chronicle – October 31st, 2016     A report by the Epoch Times on Emerge USA.

 

Emerge USA Interviews Ahmad Rafah, American Muslim Candidate for Santa Clara City Council

In order to drive change, strong leadership is needed on all levels of government: federal, state and city. Ahmad Rafah is leading the way in Santa Clara, CA and is currently running for City Council as the first American Muslim and ethnic minority in the city’s 150 year history. Emerge USA’s Communications Coordinator Baura Zia recently spoke with Mr. Rafah about his campaign.

Mr. Rafah, please tell us about your background.

My family escaped from the Soviet-Afghan War in the 80s and were fortunately relocated to the United States. When we relocated, my family lost everything we had — we barely had money and my father, who was already a doctor, couldn’t practice here. We lived in poverty most of our lives, with my mom supporting us as a teacher while my father worked to become a licensed physician again.

That story is familiar to many of the Afghans who became refugees of war at the time. We were all devastated by what happened there, but it made us tough, resilient, and resourceful. I’m proud of the Afghan community and how far we’ve come together.

I graduated from university with high honors in Chemistry. I could have followed in my dad’s footsteps and become a doctor, but I wanted to pursue a form of public service that would make a wider impact — to one day be in a position to solve regional problems like disease, poverty, public safety, discrimination, and housing. So I chose to work in government and politics to figure out how to address our biggest problems.

Since then, I’ve been a teacher, community organizer, and Deputy Communications Director to Congressman Mike Honda, who represents Silicon Valley — including the City of Santa Clara, where I live. In Santa Clara, I serve as President and Founder of the City of Santa Clara Democratic Club, am an active member of the Santa Clara Rotary, and was appointed to the Santa Clara Charter Review Committee.

What inspired you to run for City Council?

I was inspired to run for City Council because I remember what it was when my family first came to this country as refugees of war from Afghanistan — we were completely alone and helpless. We only survived because the government and our local community helped us get on our feet and gave us the chance to build a better life.

My entire family was inspired by that experience to give back to the people that helped us, those who gave us a voice we never had coming from Afghanistan. Now, my dad is a doctor, my mother is a teacher, my sister is a social worker, and my brother is an anti-bullying advocate. I have dedicated my entire professional career to public service, as a teacher and most recently a Congressional aide, so that I could become someone who gives a voice to the voiceless, and hope to the hopeless.

What issues are most important to you and how do you plan on bringing change to those areas? 

My top issues are fixing the traffic congestion, finding solutions to the housing crisis, and giving a voice to residents in Santa Clara who feel like they have no connection to the city government.

First and foremost, as a professional who lives and works in Santa Clara, I experience the extreme traffic congestion day-in, day-out. I know what it’s like to be stuck on El Camino or Lafayette during peak hours. This traffic problem is even spilling into residential areas as drivers try to find more and more ways to avoid traffic, which endangers children walking to and from their schools and pedestrians in general. This problem didn’t just come out of nowhere — it’s been here for years, decades. And yet the City Council has never even seriously put any effort into comprehensively planning how to ease the congestion. That’s the first time I’m going to do as a member of the Council, because too many working professionals that fuel our local economy are spending time in traffic rather than time with their families.

Secondly, I believe that once we focus our energy into creating a comprehensive transportation grid and solving that issue, more and more residents would feel comfortable with the intense development projects popping up in Santa Clara. The Council is seeing a lot of opposition to their developments because they haven’t shown they are capable of dealing with problems that their residents experience every day in relation to the traffic issue. We need to focus development in transit areas, like near the Caltrain station, and make sure we’re creating transit villages that encourage walking rather than driving.

Lastly, and most personally, I believe the Council needs a new perspective, one that is more relatable to most Santa Clarans. The Council, for so many years, has been made up of people from the same ethnic, economic, and age group. I believe working Santa Clarans, young Santa Clarans, and new Santa Clarans also deserve a voice on the Council, and I believe I can represent their concerns and make this a better place for them to live, work, and raise their families in.

What can you say about the nature of this year’s election, specifically touching on Donald Trump and the rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric?

To me, the anti-Muslim rhetoric that is being tolerated and spouted by the media and other politicians is disgusting, reprehensible, and frightening. Donald Trump, and others like him, have given racists a platform to incite violence against innocent, peaceful Muslims and other ethnic minorities throughout the country. Even famous celebrities like Aziz Ansari have come out saying they fear for the lives of their parents, relatives, and friends.

A huge reason I’m running for City Council is to combat that hateful rhetoric and show the community that there is hope. No matter how hard they will try to cut us down and make us feel like second-class citizens, they can’t take away our voices and our right to serve the country — which is as much ours as it is theirs.

I grew up during 9/11 — I was always afraid of the first day of school, because the teacher always said my name wrong and kids always laughed at me and called me names, like “terrorist.” I’m running to end that cycle. I’m running so that Muslim kids won’t ever feel like I did on the first day of school — that they’d be proud to have a “funny” name like “Ahmad Rafah” or “Barack Obama.” I’m running to give those kids the hope they deserve.

What is your stance on the refugee crisis? Gun reform? The results of the Brexit referendum?

As Congressman Honda’s main advisor on Middle East and Muslim issues, I made sure that he did everything to make sure the American government supported the Syrian refugees during the height of their migration. The Congressman was on the forefront of advocating for helping the refugees because I was a refugee. I’ve been there. No one should turn their backs on people who are running from war, who are just looking to survive. I did everything I could to be there for them, as the government was there for me when my family came here.

With regard to the Brexit referendum, as a Muslim, I definitely felt that the movement to leave the EU was inspired by anti-Muslim hate in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. I think many people who voted to leave were uninformed of the consequences of that decision and that they let the hateful rhetoric of a prejudiced minority get the better of them. The campaign to leave the EU was based a lot on fear-mongering against the refugees and the Muslim community, and it led at least half of British voters to vote against their interest. Now, they are suffering from those consequences — and that’s exactly the danger of letting hateful, xenophic rhetoric have a place in society.

Why is this year’s election a historic one?

On the Presidential level, this election is historic because America may elect its first woman president — following the lead of many other successful, developed countries. It’s also historic because it will demonstrate how equality and diversity can overcome the hate, violence, racism, and discrimination that Donald Trump glorifies and represents.

My election will also be a historic one. If I’m elected, I would become the first ethnic minority and Muslim to serve on Santa Clara City Council in its 150-year history. I would likely become the only Muslim in elected office in the San Francisco Bay Area. And last, but not least, I would make history as the first Afghan to ever be elected in the United States.

What do you say to American Muslims on the importance of staying politically involved and civically engaged in this years’ election? And beyond?

I would say that, if this election year has taught our community anything, it’s that we need our own voices in government to defend our people, our faith, and our futures. If we stand any chance of being able to shape the discussions happening in the media, to combat hateful legislation being passed against us in the local, state, or federal level — we need to elect Muslim candidates.

I work for one of the strongest supporters of the Muslim community in Congress, but I can tell you that I have had to live with decisions he made that were not friendly to the Muslim community. Imagine if there was someone the community could count on to do whatever it took to make sure our voices were heard, that our community was treated equally in the eyes of the law, that fought openly against anti-Muslim bigotry. That’s the future I’m fighting to make reality for Muslims everywhere — to show the community that it is possible for us to directly shape the direction of this country.

We need to unify and solidify the power we hold in our vote, pockets, and voices, and use them to finally gain our rightful political power, to finally get a seat at the table.

What You Need to Know About Presidential Primaries in February

What You Need to Know about Presidential Primaries in February

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The Presidential Primaries are here and regardless of being a Democrat, Republican or an independent, its important to know the rules! The schedule below shows the Presidential primaries through the month of February, whether the Primary is closed or open and your voter registration date. If you are an independent in a closed primary State, you will NOT be able to vote for any Democratic or Republican Party candidate, i.e. Hillary, Bernie, Jeb, Kasich, etc. 

What is an Open Primary?

In an open primary, the voter has the choice to vote in any one party without being officially affiliated or registered with that party. Example: I can vote in the Republican primary even though I am registered as a Democrat. Also important to note, you cannot vote in both primaries- you have to pick one.

What is a closed Primary?

You must be officially affiliated with a party to vote for that party. Example: If I want to vote for Bernie or Hillary, I have to be registered as a Democrat. If I am registered as an independent, I cannot vote for either/any of them in the Presidential Primary.

 

If you don’t vote, it is as if you don’t exist. Do your civic duty for you and your community and 
get registered to vote today regardless of where you live!

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Virginia Eid Gala 2016

Emerge USA Annual Eid Gala
“Engaging the Muslim Vote in 2016”

Voting expresses political choice and influences our elected leaders. Emerge USA chapters across the US are working to civically and politically empower American Muslims through programs and activities at all levels of government. For over a year, our Virginia Chapter has been building relationships, training constituents, and focusing on data driven strategies for innovative outreach.

Growing the voter base this Presidential election cycle is indeed critical, but representative governance requires the constant mobilization of communities in influencing local policies, which directly affect the well being of all citizens and continually strengthen our union. We are dedicated to providing communities across America the tools to remain informed, more relevant and consistently engaged. As we celebrate this Eid, join us in recognizing our milestones as the Virginia Chapter of Emerge USA and share with us a vision for the future.

WHEN
July 16, 2016 at 7pm – 10pm
WHERE
Virginia Eid Gala 2016
7801 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22043
United States
Google map and directions
CONTACT
Emerge USA VA · virginia@emerge-usa.org

Who are American Muslims Supporting?

Who are American Muslims Supporting?

The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding released the results of their American Muslim Poll: Politics, Priorities and Prejudice in 2016.  You can see the data below that summarizes sentiments of American Muslims.

 

FLORIDA-EmergeUSA

BEN CARSON IS MISINFORMED

September 23, 2015 3:40 PM

Candidate Ben Carson recently clarified – and doubled down – on this statements about Muslims by stating that Islam is “incompatible” with the Constitution and thus, Muslims are not fit to be President.

  • WHAT DID YOU MEAN DONALD TRUMP?

    September 18, 2015 4:41 PM

    Donald Trump affirmed a question from a town hall held in Rochester, N.H. where Muslims are a “problem” and that he was “going to be looking at that.” Emerge USA has issued a letter to the campaign to seek clarification and his position on American Muslims.

    PROJECT DOWNTOWN FORT LAUDERDALE IN TRIBUTE TO #OURTHREEWINNERS

    February 15, 2015 12:00 PM

    In honor of #OurThreeWinners – Deah, Yusor, and Razan – and their beautiful commitment to love and service before they were taken away too soon from us, Project Downtown Fort Lauderdale dedicated Valentine’s Day to their memory.

    ELECTION DAY DETAILS (SOUTH FLORIDA)

    November 03, 2015 8:25 AM

    Today is Election Day Floridians! See the links below to the sample ballots of races in South Florida.  There are NO elections in Broward or Palm Beach Counties today.

    FLORIDA SENATE ALLOWS SB86: LIMITING FREEDOM OF SPEECH

    October 22, 2015 5:24 PM

    So, I’ve been reading policy and working on policy related issues for 15 years. Disregarding the fact I’m a nerd, I did it while with the Federal government for the first 14 years of my career.

    Theocratic Wave Hits Florida Shores

    My fellow Floridians your freedom  is under attack this coming legislative session. A bill will be introduced to the Florida House of Representatives next year that would allow organizations to discriminate against certain groups of people under the guise of a “sincerely held religious belief.“ House Bill 43, otherwise known as the Pastor Protection Act, is being sponsored by State Representative Plakon, a conservative Republican in Central Florida and is already making waves in the LGBT community. House Bill 43, “Provides that churches or religious organizations, related organizations, or certain organizations may not be required to solemnize any marriage or provide services, accommodations, facility, goods or privileges for related purposes if such action would violate sincerely held religious belief; prohibits certain legal actions, penalties, or governmental sanctions against such individuals or entities”.  

             If this bill passes it will be the latest in a series of attempts to undermine democracy and equal treatment under the law in the United States. Our founding fathers had a vision for this country that included religious freedom for all, ensuring its citizens had the right to practice their religious beliefs freely, not the freedom of discriminating against others because they don’t share the same faith. One of the  underlying principles of our constitution is the separation of church and state, specifically “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof”  was  written to ensure  no government entanglement of religion would take place, and no chosen faith our nation should be governed by.” The freedom of religion is incredibly important – that’s why it is protected by the very first amendment of the Constitution. By further enumerating the protections that the First Amendment provides, this bill could do more to threaten the intentionally-broad application of religious freedom than to bolster it.

    This is a slippery slope, the American Muslim community is no stranger to discrimination. Since the tragic events of September 11th, Islamophobia has run rampant through our halls of power, across our media channels and down our neighborhood streets. Presidential candidates doubt the merits of a Muslim president theoretically taking office, representatives in Congress and state legislators have introduced bills to ban the practice of shariah law in the false belief that the religious rights of Muslims will somehow supercede the Constitution, which is the “law of the land.” This bill serves as a guise of providing “additional protection” for religious rights, when it actually attempts to legislate religious services through vague language. Legislation does not need to be, or should it be, in our personal lives and in our religious rights as provided by the Constitution.

    In the pursuit of freedom and democracy, we are ALL Americans and this is another attempt to create vague legislation for rights that are already protected under the Constitution.

        Emerge USA is instituting a CALL TO ACTION to protect citizens across the state of Florida from Rep. Plakon’s discriminatory bill. Call on your State Representative to “Protect the integrity of our Democracy; and ask them to vote NO on HB43, the Pastor Protection Act.” Let them know that “we don’t need more legislation on the religious rights we already have under the Constitution.” If you agree that this bill is unnecessary, antagonistic, and fear-mongering at its finest, we need legislators to hear from you. Please sign this pledge in opposition of the so-called Pastor Protection Act and hold our government to a higher standard.

Emerge 2012 Annual Banquet: Investing in Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

Emerge USA will be holding its annual banquet on April 21, 2012 at the Marriott Fort Lauderdale North.  The theme of the banquet is “Investing in Tomorrow’s Leaders Today” with Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin of Teaneck, NJ and Comedian Ahmed Ahmed.  Registration is at 7pm and doors open at 7:30pm.  Hallal dinner will be served and childcare will be available.

Event Properties

Event date: April 21, 2012 07:00 PM
Individual Price $50.00
Location Florida

EMERGE-USA Activisim

Emerge USA’s volunteers are calling Muslims across the state encouraging them to vote in this year’s election.

Emerge USA mobilized hundreds of Muslims to keep the Sunrise City Council from approving the building of an industrial dump site next to a mosque in Sunrise, FL.

Emerge USA’s coordinated a Statewide Voter Registration Day, where they registered 1,000 voters across Florida.

American Muslims on Gun Control, Income Inequality & Education

Emerge USA was present at the 2015 ISNA Convention #ISNA52Chicago this year! As a part of our effort to engage the American Muslim community, we took polls of attendees on Gun Control, Income Inequality/ Economy and Education.

The results are depicted below.

Emerge USA will be continuing to conduct these polls on the grassroots level to better understand American Muslim voter attitudes in our chapter States. If you would like to participate and share your perspective through this poll, please click on the infographic below to be guided to the appropriate survey.

It is time for American Muslims to write our narrative and define where we stand on issues that affect America so that Islamophobes don’t do it for us anymore.