Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told American Muslims gathered in Rosemont to think beyond voter registration drives.
"You need to run for political office," Dean said Saturday. "The only way you can achieve your goals is to stand up and say who you are and be proud of it."
Those in the packed house rose to their feet and applauded.
Dean was one of several prominent Democrats on Saturday to address the nation's largest gathering of American Muslims. Republicans declined invitations, organizers said.