“Running for All the Right Reasons: A Saudi-born Woman’s Pursuit of Democracy” a hit

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In 2004, Ferial Masry, born in Mecca, became the first Saudi American to run for political office in U.S. history. A recent immigrant and naturalized citizen with a heavy Middle Eastern accent, Masry made a spirited run for the California State Assembly seat in a staunchly Republican district, which sparked worldwide interest. She was ABC’s Person of the Week, was interviewed by Peter Jennings, and made headlines in the New York Times and Associated Press. Against all odds, her grassroots campaign succeeded in winning the write-in vote, a historic victory for all Arab Americans.

Running for All the Right Reasons chronicles Masry’s remarkable life, from her childhood in Mecca and her decision to emigrate to the United States to her career as an educator and her bold entry into the world of politics. Masry’s story, as well as her passionate belief in democracy and commitment to her community, is the stuff of legends.

Ferial Masry is currently running for California State Assembly in the 37th District. She teaches government and history at Cleveland High School in Los Angeles and has served on the boards of the Education Committee for the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and of the National Women’s Political Caucus, among others.

Susan Chenard is an English professor at Gateway Community College in New Haven, Connecticut, and a freelance writer.

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Review: This is a fascinating book, especially if you are interested in how immigrants merge into the American political system. Ferial Masry’s experience is the quitessential American experience. The book is not only a personal insight into Saudi Arabia — a very misunderstood country that has been a strong ally of the United States — it is also a compelling tale of the Arab American political experience. Masry is a role model for Arab Americans who, after more than 150 years years in this country, are only now engaging the American political system with widepsread and growing empowerment and engagement.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com