More than three times as many people — 400-plus — showed up to lobby this year on Capitol Hill compared with the first time the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations held the event in 2015. They represented over 30 different states.
More than 60 ICNA members, representing 12 states, participated in the event which was held on Monday and Tuesday, May 1-2. This is up from 30 last year.
The event is a project of U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), of which ICNA is a founding member, to mobilize the Muslim community in the U.S. and train them to get involved in the political process. The idea behind it is to give Muslims voice on issues effecting them as well as other minority communities. Every year at least three issues are chosen to discuss with elected officials. For this year, the three topics included:
Islamophobia: Support Legislation That Protects the U.S. Constitutional Rights of American Muslims
Immigration Reform: Protect Immigrant Communities: Support DREAMers (DACA) Reduce the Secure Communities Program
Racism: Support the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act
There are specific Bills introduced in the House and Senate advocating for these three issues and the Muslims on Advocacy Day lobbied their state’s elected officials to co-sponsor those Bills.
For many of the Muslims, it was their first time on Capitol Hill and they had never experienced lobbying before. Generally, everyone was very excited and looking forward to meet their elected officials. All 400-plus delegates were split up into their respective states and given their schedules for meet up with either the representatives themselves or their staff.