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With the Affordable Care Act being repealed, the fate of our Commonwealth’s healthcare system and the over 400,000 Virginians without healthcare demands immediate attention.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

Events

GOP Presidential Debate

Thursday, August 06, 2015 at 09:00 PM through August 07, 2015
Kan Zaman Hookah Cafe in Plantation, FL.

Wynwood Art Walk Voter Registration Drive

Saturday, August 08, 2015 at 06:30 PM
Wynwood Walls in Miami, FL.

Hollywood Art Walk Voter Registration Drive

Saturday, August 15, 2015 at 05:30 PM
Mystic Water Kava Bar in Hollywood, FL.

Know Your Government 101: Civics Training

Monday, August 17, 2015 at 06:30 PM
Lauderdale Lakes Multipurpose Auditorium in Lauderdale Lakes, FL

The National Executive Director of Emerge USA, Tamim Chowdhury, will be providing a Know Your Government 101: Civics Training on August 17th. Light refreshments will be provided. The event is free and open to the public.

Young Muslims Youth Gala

Friday, August 28, 2015 at 06:00 PM
Marriott Heron Bay Hotel & Golf Resort in Coral Springs, FL

The Emerge South FL Team will be tabling this event. People are encouraged to meet us and inquire about our great programs.

The Highly Anticipated
Youth Gala 2015

Hosted by the Youth Coalition of South Florida

“Building Bridges, Not Walls”

Inviting All High School & College Students

Dress to Impress | Entry $15
Doors open 6pm-11pm

Bring a colleague, a friend, and an open mind to this mentoring and networking event!

For tickets or more information:
Aqsa Mahmood (954) 798-7235
Amaan Khan (954) 232-6447

Candidate Forum 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 03:00 PM
Shahnai Reception Hall in Houston, TX

emerge USA invites you to meet the candidates running for Houston Mayor and City Council. This year will be a hotly contested race and a great opportunity to find out where the candidates stand and how they propose to shape our city before Election Day on Nov.3rd, 2015.

FREE EVENT. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

emerge USA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic engagement organization engaging underrepresented communities into the political process. We believe in power through participation.

Follow us @emergeUSATX

You can RSVP here or at our Facebook page.

NY Times: Muslims May Swing Vote

Since then, the animosity against Muslims has only intensified. Republican presidential hopefuls Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich frequently warned that Muslims were attempting to take over the government and impose Shariah law, using “stealth Jihad,” as Gingrich put it in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute late last year.

The problem for the United States, the former speaker of the house argued, is not primarily terrorism; it is Shariah — “the heart of the enemy movement from which the terrorists spring forth.” Rick Santorum, not one to shy away from the subject, continues to conflate Muslims with radical Islamists. He has often warned audiences of the dangers of losing the war to “radical Islam,” even suggesting in a 2007 speech at the National Academic Freedom Conference that the American response to the threat should be to “educate, engage, evangelize and eradicate.”

This type of anti-Muslim rhetoric is deployed by some candidates in an apparent attempt to tap into hostility among the voters who make up the base of the party. In a sense, this approach is validated by recent polls suggesting that Republicans are more likely to have anti-Muslim sentiments. The political scientists Michael Tesler and David Sears wrote in their 2010 book, “Obama’s Race,” that feelings about Muslims are a strong predictor about feelings about Obama. They found that “general election vote choice in 2008 was more heavily influenced by feelings about Muslims than it was in either 2004 voting or in McCain-Clinton trial heats.” As we get closer to the November election, the most likely Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, will have to balance between pandering to voters on the far right of his party, some of whom are already wary of him, and more moderate voters.

While an anti-Muslim strategy may have worked in the past, it is risky because many agree that the outcome of the 2012 presidential election will probably be determined in no more than twelve states. These are the same states where minority groups, including American Muslims, are likely to play a decisive role. A report released this week by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, where I am the director of research, suggests that this community is becoming an increasingly important player in electoral politics and might well play a surprisingly important role in this year’s election.

Although it is true that American Muslims constitute a small percentage of the national population, they are concentrated in key swing states such as Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida. Despite being very diverse and far from monolithic, this constituency is growing faster than any other religious community and has become increasingly visible and sophisticated in its political engagement. Republicans who found the Muslim community an easy target in the primaries may find themselves in trouble in the states that may determine the winner of the election.

Our report examined a decade’s worth of data on American Muslim political attitudes and includes a case study of Florida, which remains a perennial tossup. In addition to the razor-thin margin in 2000, the state’s 2004 and 2008 elections were settled by less than 2% of the vote. In 2000, a few hundred votes decided the election; an estimated 60,000 Muslims in Florida voted for Bush. Florida’s Muslim population, which has been growing since the 1980s, is now estimated by some to include 124,000 registered voters. No campaigner can afford to disregard them.

The rhetorical animosity from Republican presidential candidates, coupled with the rise of Islamophobia since 9/11, has mobilized the Muslim community to engage politically. An Emerge USA poll taken during the 2010 midterm elections found that more than 60% of registered Muslim voters in Florida were likely to vote. Polls also suggest that two out of three Muslims have a strong desire for political unity and feel that they should vote as a bloc for a presidential candidate.

It seems unlikely now, but Republicans long did a good job of courting Muslim voters, including in the 2000 election when George W. Bush reached out to the community. Al Gore, on the other hand, took Muslims for granted, to his detriment. Even in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, President Bush reached out to the community and condemned attacks against Muslims, making it clear that the terrorist attacks did not represent Islam or the views of American Muslim citizens. Yet specific policies, including the passing of the Patriot Act and the decision to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, caused many Muslims to shift away from the Republican Party.

Arab-American and South Asian-American Muslims, who initially supported Bush in 2000, switched overwhelmingly to the Democratic candidate, John Kerry, in 2004. Democrats further capitalized on this support with Obama’s candidacy in 2008. President Obama, for his part, has not managed to do much better in engaging the Muslim community, never finding it politically convenient to do so and consistently distancing himself.

The growing rhetorical invocation of Islam as a scare tactic to gain votes may work in some parts of the country, but candidates could pay dearly in critical battleground states. As a first step, politicians from both parties should reach out to the American Muslim community instead of ignoring, dismissing or maligning its members. Fueling animosity against Muslims as a tactic to court votes is a risky venture. The strategy is short sighted; it could easily backfire; and in a pluralistic society that prides itself on tolerance and religious freedom, encouraging this type of animosity towards a particular group is un-American.

Farid Senzai is assistant professor of political science at Santa Clara University and director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.