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Muslim Capitol Day

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Hundreds of Muslim youth and adults gathered at the State Capitol for the annual Michigan Muslim Capitol Day event that took place Tuesday, May 9. The event was hosted by Michigan Muslim Community Council (MMCC) in partnership with Engage, an organization focused on voter registration and education, as well as Take On Hate, a campaign to challenge discrimination against U.S. Arabs and Muslims. The purpose of Muslim Capitol Day was to bridge Muslim constituents to their elected public officials in order to create a better line of communication and understanding. Students and community members get to interact with their state representatives and senators in order to voice their concerns and build a trust with their political leaders.

This year’s keynote speakers included Abdul El-Sayed, the first Muslim in Michigan to run for governor; Zenna Elhasan, an attorney who was appointed to serve as Wayne County’s Corporation Counsel; and Abdullah Hammoud, the only Muslim legislator in Michigan State government. Many House representatives and senators also spoke and shed light on the importance of Muslims in society and in government. El-Sayed spoke about the importance of youth involvement, and he spoke words of inspiration to motivate those kids to also run for office, which was received by a very enthusiastic crowd.

After the main part of the program, which took place inside the Rotunda, people walked across the street to the building that had the offices of the state representatives. I personally spoke with Kristy Pagan, the representative for Canton, on various issues in our community ranging from education to poverty. It was very refreshing to be informed that bills are being introduced in the House by Pagan in order to address the issues that I brought up. Not only that, but Pagan also later introduced me and two others from Canton on the House floor. It showed that she cared about her constituents, and it was good to see that she is doing her job and truly serving the community.

As a young Muslim woman living in a Trump era, I realized after Muslim Capitol Day that it is especially crucial now more than ever that Muslims are engaging with their elected representatives and are becoming more politically involved with the democratic system. So many citizens do not know who their House representatives are even though the policies that they pass affect people’s everyday lives. Michigan Muslim Capitol Day was a crucial step toward creating more aware citizens and getting minority groups involved with their government. Many Muslims are only recently beginning to recognize how crucial it is to vote and be better educated on the voting process.

After meeting with House representatives and senators and receiving very indepth insight from them regarding various issues in our communities, I walked out with a renewed sense of hope that maybe things will get better in this country for minority groups because there are people in government who are concerned and are working to do something about it. I was also very inspired to even one day run for public office and represent Muslims unapologetically in government.

 

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Muslim Capitol Day