Vote Early...Stay Engaged
ACGG encourages the community to vote early and to stay engaged in the political processes that directly impacts the model community that we are committed to build. So many of our ancestors were dehumanized and denied the right to vote. Recent leaders expressed their frustration with a political process that presented public democratic ideals , but for decades used Jim Crow tactics to prevent thousands of our people the right to vote. Fannie Lou Hammer summed up their frustration by stating that "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired". Former Congressman John Lewis often stated that we have to be willing to get into "good trouble". Medgar Evers gave his life in his driveway in Mississippi, Dr. King gave his life on a balcony in Memphis, Malcolm( El Hajj Malik) lost his life in a ballroom in New York and countless unknown heroes and heroines sacrificed for us to have the right to vote. Imam W.D. Mohammed( AS) had the vision to establish the ACGG in 1997 in Charlotte, NC. to keep us engaged in the political process as an independent non partisan grassroots entity.
Voting early in 2020 is the least that we can do to honor their sacrifices. Remember to "Take 5". Make sure that all members are registered to vote and provide a means of helping them to caste their Constitutional right to vote.
Have a plan to vote early. Our resolve to vote cannot be deterred by others who want to suppress our participation to choose our leaders. America' s soul is at stake in this critical election.
However, our participation must continue beyond the election cycle. How do we hold elected officials accountable after the elections? What policies will we request from our political leaders that support our values as a community? Stay engaged after the elections. Have a vision for 2020 and beyond.
- Fleming El-Amin
ACGG in Focus
In continuing the historical review of the U.S. Constitution, the organizational structure of the Constitution will be the focus of this article. In a previous article, we suggested a simple means of remembering this structure, P-7A-27C. ( Preamble-7Articles-27Changes).
The Preamble is the Introduction to the Constitution and identifies the key reasons or purpose of the Constitution. " We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish the Constitution for the United States of America." This introduction is focused on the role of We the people instead of a focus on States rights and perpetual union as stated in the Preamble to the first Constitution or plan of government for the 13 colonies called the Articles of Confederation. That document was endorsed two years after the American Revolution. That Preamble starts with" To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our names send greeting:....."
The primary focus of this preamble was States rights.
This document only had a Preamble and 13 Articles. An alliance of States was the foundation of this concept and had no power to tax. These Articles did not operate the relatively new country efficiently and had to be revised. That revision resulted in a new plan of government called the U.S. Constitution.
The new plan had individual rights and responsibilities called the Bill of Rights (First 10 Amendments of the 27 Changes).
These rights were the result of the political discourse of the Federalists and Anti- Federalists. The Anti- Federalists demanded that individual liberties be included in this new plan of government.
What are our responsibilities and duties in the Constitution?
How do we contribute to " making this a more perfect union". ? Establishing justice? Domestic tranquility? Providing for the Common Defense? Promoting the General welfare and Securing the Blessings of liberty? ACGG encourages the community to develop a local plan of engagement to identify how your local community can best address these questions. Organize, strategize, implement and evaluate your plan periodically. Are you informed and engaged with this critical election year process? Are you holding forums for candidates to address your local concerns? 2020 demands that we accept the role of leadership and consistent engagement in making policies that impact our community. What plans do you have to advance the community post Covid 19?
It is our responsibility to be informed and to be engaged as active citizens. Consider engaging in a local Take Five initiative.
- Fleming El-Amin
2020 Vision for 2020 Elections and Beyond
ACGG encourages our community to be steadfast and active to have 2020 vision for the benefits of our model community. This critical election requires us to be engaged and informed about the best candidates who value our moral focus as a unique Islamic community. Who has a platform that invites and engages our community? Which candidates have asked for your input in developing their policies? How many candidates have contacted you to get your concerns addressed? How many candidates have invited you to participate in a zoom platform ? Are your agenda items being discussed by those soliciting your support? Are these candidates investing media outreach campaigns within our community(Muslim Journal, AM 360, Study Al-Islam, etc)?
ACGG strongly suggests that we maintain our independent non-partisan grassroots perspective on all candidates. We are dedicated to maintain the vision that Imam W.D. Mohammed established for us in 1997 in Charlotte, NC. The vision then was to establish coalitions with other like minded organizations to improve our collective political influence. We continue to work on developing relationships with other like minded organizations, but we are an independent critical thinking organization based on an inherent motivation from our Creator.
Remember to keep that focus as you evaluate whom you will support in this 2020 election. Remember how the policies from the current federally elected officials banned certain Muslim countries from coming to America, openly discriminated against many Muslims simply because of their religious choice, attempted to suppress the voting opportunities and desire in many of our people to even participate in the electoral processes, etc.
Remember to vote for your choice on all the candidates on the ballot. Check your status as a voter in your county to make sure that you are still registered to vote. Be sure that you are not on the inactive list.
ACGG encourages you to think beyond this 2020 election. What impact will this election have on our model community after 2020? Stay informed, stay engaged. Vote. Complete the Census form. Hold all candidates accountable. Vote in all elections. Support those candidates that best represent your interest.
- Fleming El-Amin
Often the character within us is reflected in the people that we associate with or sometimes follow. Sadly, our political divisive culture has inundated our national character with a contagious, often careless and cruel dimension. The founding fathers and mothers of the idea of America had hoped for "a more perfect union".
How far removed from that idea have we become?. All of us have loved ones that we hope will have a better future than we have experienced. If we overcame the peculiar institution of chattel slavery, second class attitudes towards the role of women in a participatory democracy, decades of Jim Crow rules and attitudes and 18 yr old American citizens not being able to vote in spite of their sacrifices in the Vietnam War, we can overcome this temporary divisive political climate that promotes cruel, careless and contagious attitudes without even knowing the person that you have pre determined to be less than you. We can make this a "more perfect union".
- Fleming El-Amin
Transparency in government?
A birthright of every citizen in a participatory democracy is transparency in government decisions. The perception of the lack of transparency causes suspicion, rumors and often outcry from the public.
Sadly, the common good that we all benefit from as citizens is blinded by extreme positions that permeate our political climate today. All levels of government could be more effective if we act deliberately on honoring the pledge that we make to defend the U.S.Constitution. "We, the people, in order to form a more perfect union" demands an active participatory engagement for the common good.
Perhaps a shared review of the book Common Sense by Thomas Paine is in order.
- Fleming El-Amin