06/22/2012 05:43 pm ET Updated Aug 22, 2012

Arab Americans Come to Washington

As we move closer to the 2012 presidential election, minority groups in America representing millions of people from all races, ethnicities and religions will go to the ballot box to elect our next president who best represents the hopes and dreams of the plurality of the American population. From comprehensive immigration reform to marriage equality to racist xenophobia still dominating the political zeitgeist of our nation for the foreseeable future, it becomes a moral imperative for minority groups in America to mobilize together to ensure that our political leaders listen to the needs and concerns of our respective communities.

Since Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiment have been major players in our current political discourse today here in Washington, it is encouraging to see civil rights groups like the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) tackle many of these issues during their 2012 ADC Annual Convention taking place here on Capitol Hill from June 21-24, 2012.

From hosting Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore to NAACP president Benjamin Jealous to White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, the upcoming 2012 ADC Convention will bring hundreds of Arab American community members from around the country to the nation's capital to discuss issues ranging from bullying in schools to civil rights issues affecting all Americans.

Throughout ADC's 32 years of service within the Arab American community, their mission has been to protect the civil rights of Arab Americans, promote mutual understanding, and preserve cultural heritage which has been showcased each year at the ADC National Convention here in Washington.

The last few years have seen the rise of Islamophobia, anti-Arab political rhetoric, unwarranted surveillance and negative stereotyping of minorities in the media, in schools, and in popular literature. With 2012 being an election year, it is important for people of color in this country to take charge of our political destinies to ensure that our voices are heard by politicians on both sides of the partisan divide.

At a time where many politicians are pandering to the politics of fear in order to score cheap political points at the expense of minority communities, it is imperative for all people of color in America to stand up for the civil rights of all fellow Americans. Just like Muslim and Arab Americans should stand up on issues of immigration reform, hate crimes and other civil rights issues, it is equally important for our brothers and sisters of different races and religions to help stand up to Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiment in America today by sharing stories that will help humanize our fellow Americans to each other.

Which is why everyone should attend the June 2012 ADC Convention in Washington DC as just one great example of Arab Americans coming to Capitol Hill to help make this country a better place for all.