Arab American Illinois voters rally for Democratic candidates Oct. 21

Arab American Illinois voters rally for Democratic candidates Oct. 21
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Arab American Illinois voters rally for Democratic candidates Oct. 21

Dozens of Democratic candidates running in the November 6, 2018 General election will be showcased at the annual Candidate’s Breakfast & Brunch on Sunday, October 21 hosted by The Arab American Democratic Club.

The keynote speakers at the event are Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and Democratic Pary candidate for Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough.

More than 500 Arab American community leaders and activists will attend the gathering giving a powerful voice to an expected Democratic voter surge next month.

“We are very excited that both Speaker Madigan, one of the most influential government leaders in the Midwest and certainly in the state of Illinois will be addressing the concerns and interests of Arab Americans at the breakfast forum,” said Samir Khalil, executive director of the AADC, the state’s first ever Arab American PAC, founded in the 1980s.



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Arab American Democratic Club President Samir Khalil. Khalil's Facebook Page.

Arab American Democratic Club President Samir Khalil. Khalil’s Facebook Page.

“We are also very honored that Karen Yarbrough, who has a brilliant career in Illinois public service as the former state representative for the 7th Illinois House District and currently the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. Ms. Yarbrough is the Democratic party endorsed candidate for Cook County Clerk in the November 6, 2018 General Election, which she is overwhelmingly expected to win.”

During his keynote address, Madigan is expected to make a major announcement regarding a new Illinois state law that will advance the rights of Arab Americans.

Khalil said that Yarbrough will be introduced by Village of Lyons President Christopher Getty and Madigan will be introduced by State Senator Steve Landek, both officials who have earned great praise and respect for their leadership in the Southwest and West regions of Chicagoland.

Miriam Zayed, an AADC board member, said that the morning brunch will also feature many important candidates for public office including showcasing Abdelnasser Rashid, the Democratic Party candidate for the Cook County Board. Speakers also include Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, candidate for the U.S. Congress, local officials and several Cook County and Illinois judges including Judge Sam Betar III and Judge Linda Davenport.

“We are very proud to host this event each year to allow our government officials and public servants to meet with and speak to members of the Arab American community,” said Zayed, who previously was twice backed for local school board office.

“More than any other political party, the Democrats have given resonance to the Arab American voice, opened their doors to Arab American participation in government, and stood with us against discrimination on the local, regional and national levels.”

AADC Communications adviser Ray Hanania said the event will feature the best that the Democratic Party has to offer from the top of the ticket at the state level to the grassroots races for local and countywide contests.

“This is an important election and the Democrats have fielded a powerful and challenging slate of impressive candidates at every level of government from the state down to the county and local municipal races,” said Hanania, an award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and media consultant.

“Despite excessive criticism from Republicans, Mike Madigan has empowered voters in Illinois and prevented Republican Governor Bruce Rauner from worsening the state’s economic health. Rauner wants you to believe that one person is responsible for this state’s problems. That’s ridiculous. The truth is that of the past eight governors who have controlled Illinois since 1969, only three have been Democrats serving only 16 years, while five Republican governors controlled Illinois for more than 35 years. The burden for the state’s problems falls squarely on the shoulders of the Republicans like Rauner.”

Hanania said Rauner’s personal attacks against Madigan were “nauseating” and misleading and are intended to distract voters away from his failure as governor.

Arab American Democratic Club

Tickets for the brunch are still available, AADC officials said, at $40 per person. They can be purchased from the AADC website at The brunch begins at 10 am at Niko’s Restaurant, 7600 S. Harlem Ave. All Democratic officials and candidates are invited and will be introduced and invited to speak to the gathering.

For more information contact Samir Khalil at 773-719-3331.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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