AND INSPIRE CIVIC PARTICIPATION
WHAT: CAC Constitution Week Forum, FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
WHEN: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 7:00 P.M.
WHERE: Elmhurst Public Library* 125 S. Prospect Avenue, Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
Constitution Week commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. Celebrating this momentous event in our country’s history gives us pause to remember the importance of a document held in esteem worldwide for empowering “We the People” with the rights and responsibilities to engage in the democratic process. The First Amendment Freedoms, (freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to petition our government, freedom to assemble, and freedom of religion) are essential components that ensure a healthy democracy and the capacity to hold government accountable.
“Constitution Week recognizes the importance of our founding document by introducing students and adults to constitutional issues through dynamic speakers with first-hand knowledge of what it means to fight for freedom. Mr. Rashid’s experience demonstrates the importance of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise of Religion Clause to American democracy, while sharing a remarkable personal story,” said Andrea Alvarez, community lawyer at the Citizen Advocacy Center.
In collaboration with area high schools and with support from the McCormick Foundation, Mr. Qasim Rashid will be speaking at high schools in DuPage and Kane County and at a public forum to discuss the Free Exercise of Religion Clause of the First Amendment as an important thread in the fabric of our democracy.
Mr. Qasim Rashid is a vocal human rights activist. Mr. Rashid is the author of The Wrong Kind of Muslim, an autobiographical personal journey into his heritage and religion as a vehicle into the history and ongoing phenomenon of faith-based persecution and target-killings in Pakistan – starting with a childhood bullying incident in Chicago. He blogs for The Huffington Post, Washington Post, and CNN. His work has appeared in USA Today, National Public Radio, Richmond Times-ispatch, Virginia Pilot, San Francisco Chronicle, among various other national and international outlets. Mr. Rashid regularly interviews in a variety of media including the New York Times, Pittsburg Post-Gazette, Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International, Huff Post Live, NBC, CBS, the Christopher Gabriel Program, Voice of America, among several other national and international outlets. He also regularly lectures on Islam and human rights at various universities and places of worship worldwide.
Mr. Rashid has won numerous awards for his community service, activism, and writing. He serves as the current Chairman of the Muslim Writers Guild of America, serves as a Volunteer Chaplain for the Virginia State Prison system, and also offers pro bono legal assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence through the Virginia Poverty Law Center. Mr. Rashid is a practicing attorney in Richmond, Virginia.
Born in Pakistan in 1982, Mr. Rashid migrated to the United States in 1987 and to the western suburbs in 1988. He is a graduate of Glenbard South High School. In 2007, he received his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mr. Rashid received his juris doctorate from the University of Richmond School of Law in 2012.
In previous years, Citizen Advocacy Center hosted dynamic speakers showcasing other precious First Amendment freedoms. These include: Mary Beth Tinker, free speech advocate and plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court free speech case; Toni Locy, free press advocate and award-winning reporter and professor at Washington and Lee University; Jessica Ahlquist, freedom of religion advocate and plaintiff in a successful lawsuit challenging her high school’s endorsement of religion; and Kelly Hayes, advocate for our freedom to peaceably assemble and community organizer for large scale protests in the City of Chicago.
The Citizen Advocacy Center is a non-profit, non-partisan community based legal organization dedicated to building democracy for the 21st Century by increasing the citizenry’s capacities, resources, and institutions for self-governance.
* This meeting/program is not an Elmhurst Public Library activity