Top 10 Moments from MPAC's 11th Annual Convention

October 1, 2012

MPAC's 2011 Convention, "Spring Forward: America's Role in A Changing World," saw top thinkers and leaders come together to discuss the Arab Spring, Islamophobia and acknowledging those who have led the way in giving voice to the voiceless.

In case you missed it, here are the Top 10 Moments from the Convention.

MPAC Convention panel on 'Arab Spring'10 - Convention Speakers Reflect Upon Arab Spring
After a year defined by the monumental change in the Middle East and North Africa, MPAC focused its Convention program on the impact of the Arab Spring, which was recognized by TIME magazine which named “The Protester” as its Person of the Year. Ten speakers gathered to reflect and exchange ideas about the upheaval facing those nations, and what our important role is in this time of history.


Joe Stork, Human Rights Watch9 - White House & Human Rights Watch Receive Community Leadership Awards
MPAC presents its annual Community Leadership Awards to individuals and organizations who promote the Islamic values of mercy, justice, service and equality for all. Human Rights Watch was honored for its work to expose abuses against vulnerable populations around the world, and the award was accepted by Joe Stork. The second award was presented to Paul Monteiro, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, in recognition of the office’s efforts to engage diverse faith communities into the political process.


Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)8 - Rep. Chu & CA Sen. Eng Open Convention
Showing their ongoing support for the Muslim American community, Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and CA. Sen. Michael Eng opened the Convention by addressing the rampant Islamophobia the nation is facing. The two politicians' appearance is a reminder of the strong support from those who stand by the values of equality and justice, irrespective of the political pressures they face. Chu and Eng both presented MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati with a certificate of recognition.


Rep. Andre Carson7 - Rep. Carson’s Special Message Commending MPAC’s Work
Though Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) was not able to join us in Los Angeles this year, he was able to be present via a special video message. The video which opened the banquet, commended MPAC’s work in addressing the needs of the Muslim American community and fighting bigotry.


South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool6 - Amb. Rasool Shares Lessons from Anti-Apartheid Movement
In a touching tale of his trials and tribulations during South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool talked about the character it takes to work for the struggle.

“There is a need for us to defend the rights of others to worship, not just here, but all over the world.”


Wajahat Ali5 - Sharing Tools & Successes in the Fight Against Islamophobia
Co-author of "Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America," a report by the Center for American Progress about the state of hate, and a strong advocate for the reality TV show “All-American Muslim,” Wajahat Ali gave voice to a hot-topic and provided real tools of engagement to the audience. Rule #1: The best way to fight Islamophobia is getting to know a non-Muslim.


MPAC Text-to-Donate4 - MPAC Goes Digital with Text-to-Pledge
For the first time, MPAC offered attendees the option to Text-to-Pledge their donation. Community support makes our important and impactful work possible. And now you can give easily just by sending a text message to “27138” with the message "MPAC $___” (fill in with your donation amount.)


Paul Monteiro, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement3 - 1st Networking Luncheon Features White House Rep
Partnering with American Muslim Professionals of Los Angeles (AMP-LA), Muslims Establishing Communities in America of Southern California (MECA), IMAN College and Young Professionals Group and the Islamic Center of Southern California, MPAC co-sponsored its first Young Professionals Networking Luncheon during the Convention. Guest speaker Paul Monteiro, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, spoke about the importance of internships and being a team player.


Sen. Ted Lieu2 - Sen. Lieu Speaks Out Against Lowe's Anti-Muslim Bigotry
After making headlines last week for threatening legal action against Lowe’s for its controversial decision to pull their ads from TLC, Sen. Ted Lieu was able to reschedule his appointments and join MPAC at the Banquet. Met with a standing ovation, Sen. Lieu spoke of how the Jewish internment of the 1940s should never be repeated and that we must all stand against all kinds of bigotry.


Tavis Smiley1.5 - Tavis Smiley Introduces Dr. West
In a surprise move, journalist, TV personality and a long-time friend of Dr. Cornel West, Tavis Smiley attended the banquet and introduced his friend as the keynote speaker for the night. MPAC was honored to have such an esteemed journalist make a wonderful surprise appearance.


Dr. Cornel West1 - Dr. Cornel West’s Keynote Speech
After a banquet program filled with awards and celebration, Dr. Cornel West took to the stage to deliver a riveting keynote speech about the need to work together for peace and love.

"The healthy future of the American democracy depends more on what prophetic Muslims do in the next few decades,” West said. “It's not a matter of integrating into a burning house - it's a matter of becoming a fireman or firewoman and putting the fire out!"

At the end of the address, Dr. Maher Hathout, MPAC’s Senior Adviser, joined Dr. West on stage, and the giants of movements embraced out of sheer love for one another and their work.

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