Nomination and blog post written by: Curtis Chin, APAP Board President
As an organization that came out of Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign, APAP usually agrees with the good Governor, including his Fifty-state strategy and vocal support of the public option. However, when controversy erupted in 2010 over the building of an Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan and Governor Dean suggested it might be better to move the center, we respectfully disagreed with him.
Fortunately, the Governor, is also a man who encourages people to speak their mind and that is what the Executive Director of the organization that came out of his campaign, Democracy for America, Arshad Hasan, did.
Hasan and Dean had a conversation in which they were able to talk about religious and cultural differences and how to resolve them in a respectful way. That conversation resulted in a message to DFA members about standing up for what you believe and how to talk about it with your neighbors. From the email:
Frankly, this isn't about Ground Zero. This is about America. This is about freedom. This is about people and there seems to be no place that Muslim people can go without being harassed.
The harassment has to stop, and that starts with you and me.
In addition to speaking out, Hasan oversaw the public option campaign in which Democracy for America whipped 51 votes in the Senate for a public option that would provide quality affordable health care to everyone in America. (Unfortunately their efforts were thwarted by a few corporate dominated Democrats.) Hasan also traveled the country helping canddiates, to Arkansas, winning key races like Barbara Boxer (CA), Michael Bennet (CO) Kristen Gillibrand (NY), Jared Polis (CO), Chellie Pingree (ME), Colleen Hanbusa (HI). and Raul Grijalva (AZ).
For always speaking out and supporting others who do, we recognize DFA Executive Director, Arshad Hasan as an unsung hero.