Reema Ahmad is a community organizer with experience in political, electoral, and issue-based campaigns. Reema was born and raised in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious family in Milwaukee. She credits her strong belief in civic responsibilities and community-built power with social activism growing up, as well as coming of (political) age post-9/11 in a tight-knit American Muslim community with a history of educational outreach. In her first job after college, working in government affairs, she saw firsthand the consequences of political dis-engagement on the ability of minority communities to see their concerns taken up by elected officials. Identifying a need, Reema collaborated with community leaders to found Project Mobilize, a 501(c)4 organization dedicated to increasing civic participation and representation from politically marginalized communities across Chicago. The effort increased political participation from American Muslim voters by 54 percent and saw 2 of its first-time candidates elected into local offices. Reema later joined Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago, where she led the Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment [PAVE] Coalition of 13 social service community-based organizations. She directed strategic community outreach for the Jesus Garcia mayoral campaign in Chicago, mobilizing political support, money, and votes from across Middle Eastern, Asian, Arab, and Muslim American communities. More recently, Reema was campaign manager for a state representative race in Chicago and the second most diverse district in the country for a grassroots Asian American and Muslim American candidate. Reema is passionate about creating the authentic relationships and mutual investments between diverse communities that will be essential in the next 30 years as the U.S. becomes a minority-majority country. She firmly believes this job will be rooted in community organizing and driven by young people: paving the way for future generations to keep the baton moving forward.
“Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism”
September 19, 2012, CAIR - Chicago hosted a public viewing of a Senate hearing entitled “Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism” – chaired by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. The event was co-sponsored by the Asian American Institute, the Indian American Bar Association and the Muslim Bar Association.
A packed room of approximately 40 people attended the event, including:
Clarisol Duque – Chicago Director of Senator Durbin’s office Alderman Ameya Pawar of the 47th ward Ami Gandhi – Executive Director of the South Asian American Policy Research Institute (SAAPRI) Andy Kang – Senior Staff Attorney with the Asian American Institute Arnold J. Romeo – Director of the Advisory Council on EQUITY at the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Betsy Shuman-Moore – Project Director of the Fair Housing Project and Project to Combat Bias Violence at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. (CLCCUL) Reema Ahmad from the Asian American Institute Charna Epstein – Deputy Alderman and Chief-of-Staff for Ald. Pawar of the 47th ward Rishi Agrawal – President of the Indian American Bar Association of Chicago
The Senate hearing was held to examine the upswing in hate crimes and the growing number of hate groups in the United States. The Sikh Coalition led the effort in proposing the hearing at the request of over 150 civil rights and advocacy organizations. The hearing included witness testimony from the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), among others.
Many of the statements made referenced recent attacks on the Muslim, Sikh, Latino, and African-American communities, including the shootings of Sikh men and women at a Gurdwara in Wisconsin, and the string of attacks on the Chicago Muslim community during the last week of Ramadan this past year.
One of the more revealing statements made during the hearing was that the majority of terrorist attacks in the U.S. came from right-wing extremists, according to expert testimonials.