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The Road to Political Empowerment

The road to political empowerment passes through a lot of voting booths and polling stations. Avoid them and we will perpetually remain lost. That journey starts with becoming citizens, then registering to vote, then getting informed on the candidates to choose, then going to cast our vote and be counted. Many of us have acquired citizenship rights but not citizenship responsibilities. Some of us are sold on the idea of purchasing power through the pull of the purse. Sadly, in a system already muddied by money, all it takes is a little more money to sway political promises.. We have been arguing for some time now that our community needs to take the important steps to learn to participate in this process.

Those critical steps require us to do what is basic and essential: voter registration, voter education, voter mobilization, voter engagement.

Political empowerment is a journey over time and not the magic of a moment. It will require of us to get out of our self-imposed isolation and build relationships with others in our neighborhoods who do not know us but who share our values and our concerns. Political influence can and does become a force to be reckoned with through the power of networks.

None of this will be done by others; the burden is ours to bear. The knowledge is ours to seek. The experience is ours to have. Some of us, no doubt, will have to make a commitment to this cause. But all of us need to play our part. If we are to conquer this final frontier, it will occur from the collective commitment of those on the right and those on the left , those who are conservative and those who are liberal, the red and the blues of the political spectrum. There are no shortcuts here. The work is not easy, either. The demands on our time are unfailingly severe. We are a very young community and we have a lot in our plates already. We are building careers, we are growing families, we are setting up businesses, we are establishing institutions and we are wishing to enjoy the fruits of our hard earned successes. Making the sacrifices that are needed to build political power are definitely not easy. But if we want to become empowered and go beyond the complaints rooted in complacency, we will have to move out of our comfort zones and experience the pain.

At Community Builders we remain committed to the empowerment of our community through education. Four educational workshops are being offered in various locations, to provide information on the major issues separating the candidates running for state wide offices. Representatives of the candidates have been invited to attend and be available to answer questions. Posted below is the schedule for these remaining workshops. We owe a debt of gratitude to all the panelists and moderators, for taking the time from their busy schedules and volunteer in these workshops. We invite you to join and become informed.

We also encourage all to use the convenience of early voting and avoid the lines and delays of Election Day. For Early Voting sites in Chicago, click here. For Suburban Cook County, click here The period for early voting is from October 11 to October 28. There are plenty of sites to choose from.

Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Voter Registration deadline was October 5 and passed. Some may qualify for grace period registration. Visit http://www.elections.il.gov. to find out how. If you are a citizen and 18 or older and have resided in Illinois for 30 days, you can vote.

Voter Education Workshops 2010

In DesPlaines: Sunday, Oct. 24
2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
DesPlaines Mosque
480 Potter Road, DesPlaines, IL 60016
http://www.googlemaps.com

The Issues:
The Economy
Education
Immigration
Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan & Palestine
Ground Zero Mosque

The Panelists
Ali Khan, Latitude Investments
Jenny Arwade, Albany Park Neighborhood Council (www.apnc.org)
Ahlam Jbarra, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (www.icirr.org)
Abdul Malik Mujahid, Parliament of World Religions (www.parliamentofreligions.org)
Mazen Asbahi, Institute for Social Policy & Understading (www.ispu.org )

Moderator: Azam Nizamuddin Esq. Loyola University, Chicago

In Villa Park: Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010
2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Islamic Foundation ( to be confirmed)
300 W. High Ridge, IL 60181
http://www.googlemaps.com

The Issues:
The Economy
Healthcare Reform
Immigration
Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan & Palestine
Ground Zero Mosque

The Panelists
Ali Khan, Latitude Investments
Jonathen Vanderbrug, Campaign for Better Healtcare (www.cbhconline.org)
Fred Tsao, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (www.icirr.org)
Abdul Malik Mujahid, Parliament of World Religions (www.parliamentofreligions.org
Mazen Asbahi, Institute for Social Policy & Understading (www.ispu.org )

Moderator: Ali Ahmed, MD. Phd. Islamic Foundation, Villa Park

Posted by on October 21, 2010. Filed under Community, Politics is Local, What's Up. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.