DEARBORN — What began as a dream is now becoming reality for the American- Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) Michigan, as they move ahead with plans to build the first-ever American-Arab Center for Civil & Human Rights (ACCHR). This ground-breaking education and resource center will stand as the first of its kind not only in Michigan, but the entire United States.
|American-Arab Center for Civil & Human Rights (ACCHR)
ADC Michigan announced its plans to establish this innovative center in 2003. ADC Michigan Regional Director Imad Hamad recalls the beginning phases of this project, and the initial struggles to launch such a large task.
“When we talk about the Center today, it is in a completely different context than it was three years ago,” stated Hamad. “Despite the small team of staff members and limited resources, we were able to take on this unique challenge and make this dream a reality. Through diligence, determination, and hard work, we managed to bypass the numerous challenges that stood before us and continue our steadfast efforts for the development of this center.”
The Center, which will be located in Dearborn, will serve as a state of the art resource and education center where ADC Michigan can continue to sustain its ongoing mission of promoting civil rights in the U.S. and bridging the cultural divide globally. The 10,000 square-foot, two story structure will include a comprehensive resource library, an Arab American Cultural Center, meeting rooms, and a gallery that will display artifacts from around the Arab World. ADC has received contributions to the Center from the Qatar Foundation and Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Misnad of the State of Qatar, as well as His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, Prime Minister of the State of Qatar. These donations have allowed ADC Michigan to begin the initial planning stages and forge ahead with plans to break ground.
“The presence of such a center for the Arab American community adds to the extensive list of accomplishments and unique efforts that many of our fellow Arab American organizations have put forth over the years,” stated Hamad. “This center not only adds to the pride of the Arab American contribution, but also carries a unique mission amidst the many challenges the community has been coping with, which have increased significantly after the tragedy of 9/11.”
Atty. Nabih Ayad, ADC Michigan Advisory Board Co-Chairman and ADC National Board Member, spoke of the great impact the Center will have on the Arab American community at large.
“This is truly a historic moment for ADC and those who have unconditionally supported what they do for the community,” stated Ayad. “This center will have a solid presence in the community it serves, and will stand to represent ADC’s firm commitment to the Arab American cause.”
Hamad added that the Center will have a significant impact on both the local and global level. The organization hopes that this new space will allow its reach to extend far beyond the local community.
“The Center will serve as a bridge-builder which will enable us to actively engage in human and civil rights, and allow us to forge all kinds of coalition building,” he said. “ACCHR will be a gateway for ADC to advance and enhance its network locally, nationally, and internationally.”
The local community has also expressed unwavering support for the project. Hassan Jaber, Executive Director of ACCESS, said in a recent letter to ADC, “The ACCHR will be an added benefit not only to our community but even beyond. We are pleased that ADC Michigan will now have a place that will accommodate the growing needs of our community.”
The Center will also allow ADC Michigan to continue the development of their many programs and initiatives, including the ADC Kids Club program, the Arab-American Women Advocating for Resources and Empowerment (AWARE) initiative, its internship program, and the Annual Martin Luther King Scholarship Awards Program. These initiatives have proven to be greatly successful over the years, and the existence of the new center will contribute to the growth and advancement of these ongoing projects.
“For the ADC Michigan team, this is the beginning of a new era,” concluded Hamad. “With the same fortitude that brought this project to life, they are determined to make this one of the most influential Arab American entities at all levels. The rest of the challenge lies before the entire community, whose support has helped ADC sustain its mission over the years. We hope that they will continue to be a source of support and strength, and play a vital role in making this dream come alive.”
ADC Michigan plans to officially break ground on the Center in two months. They will hold a press conference on Wednesday, September 12, at 2:00pm to further discuss plans for the Center and publicly announce the second phase of development. The event, which will host Fahad Mohamad Kafoud, Deputy Chief of Mission of the State of Qatar, will take place at the ACCHR project site located on Chase Road (between Warren Ave. and Ford Rd.) in Dearborn.