Monday, March 29, 2010

Black Hawks star Tony Esposito signs autographs for patrons at Charley Horse Munster Indiana April 12

Bookmark and Share

Black Hawks star Tony Esposito signs autographs for patrons at Charley Horse Munster Indiana April 12

Famed Black Hawks super star Tony Esposito will sign autographs during a special event April 12 at the Charley Horse Sports Bar in Munster Indiana Monday April 12.

Esposito, who’s autograph is one of the toughest for collectors to obtain, will provide autographs to the first 150 people at the Charley Horse Restaurant, 8940 Calumet Avenue, in Munster, Indiana.

Charley Horse in Munster is operated by Bryan Sord, who operates two other Charley Horse Sports Bars in Tinley Park and also New Lenox, in Illinois. Sord also operates the popular 94 West restaurant in Orland Park.

“We’re very excited to be able to bring Tony Esposito to our Charley Horse Sports Bar in Munster Indiana,” said Sord who opened the franchise in Munster, Indiana in February of this year.

Charley Horse is a very popular hangout for sports aficionados, and offers not only a superb menu of food but also features one of the only “Ice Bars” in the region.

“The Ice Bar is a section of the bar that is made of solid ice. Our customers love it. It is a tough challenge to maintain but it adds a special ambience today’s sports customers demand,” Sord said.

Sord said tickets for the Tony Esposito event are $35 per person.

“We’ll only sell 150 and it will be first come first serve. We are proud to be able to bring some of the best sports personalities to our establishments and Tony Esposito is one of the best. His autograph is a highly sought one by sports memorabilia collectors.”

Past celebrities have included Bobbie Hull and Andrew Ladd. Esposito is a former goalie for the blackhawks and he and his brother, Phil Esposito, a Center, have been honored with admission to the Hall of Fame.

The autograph session will begin at 6 pm.

For more information, contact the Charley Horse Sports Bar in Munster.

Bryan Sord’s Restaurants include:

94 West Restaurant
15410 94th Ave.
Orland Park, IL 60462
(708) 364-9494

Charley Horse Restaurants & Sports Bars

8940 Calumet Avenue
Munster Indiana

901 Lincoln Highway
New Lenox, Illinois
Fax: 815-463-1717

9501 W. 171st Street
Tinley Park, Illinois


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Truth comes out in Census lies: Doesn't matter if you write in ARAB -- you WON'T be counted as Arab

Bookmark and Share

Census to Count Arabs as White, Despite Write-In Campaign
New America Media , News Report, Suzanne Manneh, Posted: Mar 25, 2010

The Census Bureau says it doesn’t matter if Arab Americans write their race in on their Census questionnaire. 

Even if they check the “other” box and write in “Arab,” as many community groups advocate, the Census will still count them as racially white.

“Anyone from Europe, North Africa or the Middle East [will be classified] as white,” said Roberto Ramirez, chief of the ethnicity and ancestry branch at the Census Bureau.

Ramirez said that will be the case no matter how many people write in “Arab,” because the Census Bureau is required by law to use racial categories determined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and those categories do not include Arab.

Advocates for including Arab as a race say they will press on with their write-in campaign however. Census regulations provide that any organization can pay for its own special tabulation providing a formal count of write-ins.

“As with any write-in option, it is not comprehensive enough to be published as a ‘count,’ but it will provide us with important trends and estimates of the proportion of people of Arab ancestry who do not identify with the white race classification,” said Helen Samhan, the executive director of the Arab American Institute, which plans to order a special count.

“That is a start for working with the Census Bureau to research necessary changes in the way race and ethnicity are measured,” she added.

A spokesperson for the Office of Management and Budget told New America Media that current racial standards for the census will be reevaluated after the 2010 census, in time for the next one in 2020.

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fight the US Census: Don't be sedated by hallucinogenic rhetoric

Bookmark and Share

Fight the US Census: Don't be sedated by hallucinogenic rhetoric
By Ray Hanania

For 30 years, the US Government has been telling the American Arab community, through paid American Arab surrogates, that if we would just go along and stop protesting and write in our name as "ARAB" on the OTHER line at the bottom of the form, we'll get our share.

The truth is American Arabs continue to be denied their share not because they are not listed on the Census and not counted, but because the US Government and many in American refuse to give us our rights.

Just going along with the Census and NOT complaining, and not pushing back is a mistake. Simply following the lead of the paid activists in American Arab community -- who are the ONLY ones benefiting from the Census -- will do nothing. 

When the US Census says "roll over," instead of rolling over for the first time in 30 years, American Arabs should tell them to "TAKE THAT CENSUS FORM AND SHOVE IT."

They can do all the celebrity comedy shows with great comics that they want, but it doesn't change the reality of how our American Arab leadership has failed us over the years because they are afraid to take on the Census fearing they will be pushed away from their tiny tot seat at the "table." American Arabs are being thrown crumbs, not the pie, and we are told to be happy with that.

They came to us in 1980, in 1990 and 2000 with the same failed message. Rollover. Fill out the Census. Don't complain. Do what your "leaders" are telling you to do. Feeding us medication to sooth our inner-feelings that we are being cheated. Drugged up with phony rhetoric, and misled by our failed leadership, American Arabs went along and did what they asked.

And each decade, the results are the SAME. It doesn't work. It doesn't work in part because American Arabs demand equality and fairness and fair treatment. They want to be respected.

The Government does do that when faced with a community that has a strong leadership. There are 29 Ethnic and Racial groups listed on the Census. Those 29 have empowered themselves not by rolling over and having comedy and entertainment shows, but rather by recognizing the reality fo what is happening.

I know young American Arabs are easily misled by the leadership. they are too young to know how corrupt the national American Arab leadership really is. And eventually as they get older, they will see the mistake and watch as the only people getting jobs are a handful connected to those who held the government's hand and led our people to the Census reservation where they hope to keep us trained like Pavlov's Dogs, happy as lemmings, and drugged up with the narcotic-like rhetoric.

I volunteered (for free) to help the Census in 1980, 1990 and 2000, and I refuse to volunteer this time.

And all the BS rhetoric from some people who find it easier to attack me personally than to address the real issues won't change a thing.

American Arabs will only be empowered when they stand up and fight for their rights. Not when they submissively bow their heads and pretend they have achieved something that is little more than the same old same old.

The tragedy is that while everyone is entering the 21st Century, American Arabs are still living in the past. Living in the past when it comes to solving the Palestine Tragedy, and living in the Past when it comes to empowerment.

We won’t be empowered until we stand up and fight for our rights, not rollover submissively when the US Government throws a few bones.

All you have to do is ask the simple question: What have American Arabs really gotten in terms of public jobs, public contracts, grants for their cultural activities and more, as compared to what the other 29 favored ethnic groups have received? 

The answer is simple. Although we HAVE done our part as Americans, paying taxes, working hard, participating in the system and EVEN filling out the Census in the past three 10-year census counts, we have not even received a sliver of our fair share.

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, March 22, 2010

Statement from President Barack Obama on health care

Bookmark and Share

Statement from President Barack Obama on health care

For the first time in our nation's history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform. America waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.

Consider the staggering scope of what you have just accomplished:

Because of you, every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.

Every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.

And we'll finally start reducing the cost of care -- creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.

But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.

It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe.

It is the workers and entrepreneurs who are now freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill.

And it is the immeasurable joy of families in every part of this great nation, living happier, healthier lives together because they can finally receive the vital care they need.

This is what change looks like.

My gratitude tonight is profound. I am thankful for those in past generations whose heroic efforts brought this great goal within reach for our times. I am thankful for the members of Congress whose months of effort and brave votes made it possible to take this final step. But most of all, I am thankful for you.

This day is not the end of this journey. Much hard work remains, and we have a solemn responsibility to do it right. But we can face that work together with the confidence of those who have moved mountains.

Our journey began three years ago, driven by a shared belief that fundamental change is indeed still possible. We have worked hard together every day since to deliver on that belief.

We have shared moments of tremendous hope, and we've faced setbacks and doubt. We have all been forced to ask if our politics had simply become too polarized and too short-sighted to meet the pressing challenges of our time. This struggle became a test of whether the American people could still rally together when the cause was right -- and actually create the change we believe in.

Tonight, thanks to your mighty efforts, the answer is indisputable: Yes we can.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Online Restaurant Column: 94 West goes far out

Bookmark and Share

Online Restaurant Column: 94 West goes far out
By Ray Hanania
When I was a kid, my parents took me to a restaurant where they served sour-tasting little green pasta, we called “squiggles.”

I never knew the name of the place, but it was on the Southwest Side. Hey. To a kid, green squiggles were great. Of course, my parents tried to make me eat the spinach, sour kraut and meats, but who listened to their parents.

About a week ago, I happened to finally get around to visit a new restaurant that opened in Orland Park called “94 West.” Orland has a wealth of new restaurants and I’m not sure I’ll actually get around to eating at all of them in this lifetime.

But what attracted to me to 94 West, first, was a large white fountain with a statue in its open courtyard that was surrounded by tall palm trees. Yeah. Palm trees. Real ones. Rustling in the Fall air. I wondered, how long will those trees last, but then figured, what a gimmick.

Well, the Palm Trees are stored for the winter and will be back up in the spring, but when I sat down with my wife, the first thing the waitress brought out was a small dish of little green sour-tasting pasta. Squiggles.

Turns out that the COO of 94 West, Bryan Sord, is the son of the man who owned the restaurant my parents used to dine at where I splurged on green squiggles as a child.

The restaurant was called the Candlelight Lodge and it was located at 55th and Spaulding. Johnny Sord and his wife, Mary, ran the place with the help of their own kids, Wayne, Alan, Susan and Bryan, for years and the “Green Noodles” were famous and popular even with adults.

John Sord died in 1999 and his wife, Mary, closed the restaurant. After her death, Bryan decided he’d open his own place, give it a new name but offer the same kind of service, great food and Green Noodles.

Okay. I’ve outgrown my limited childhood diet and try to eat other things like steak, lobster, fine soups and even asparagus, too. And I have to say that if great food was the reason my dad went to the Candlelight
Lodge back in the 60s, it’s definitely a place he’d be headed today.

I don’t know what their secret is, but the steaks were the best I’ve had in years. My wife ordered hers rare – which is too bloody for even an Arab like me – and I ordered mine medium well. We both agreed they melted in our mouths. Not tough at all. Easy to cut and great tasting.

Sord says he broils them at extremely high temperatures “to seal in the flavor” but I think he does more and doesn’t want to tell.

We started off with the spicy unbreaded Calamari, the way real Italians prefer, and dug into a combo special of steak, lobster and crab legs.

The menu has all kinds of shrimp appetizers, Escargot, Ahi Tuna, and the main menu features steaks of all kinds from Filet Mignon to Rib Eye, New York Strip and Porterhouse for two.

It’s a little pricey, as good food goes. The lowest is $26 for a petit filet and the Porterhouse for Two is $65. But I have spent less and gotten worse. And as my mom always said, if you are going to spend your money, you might as well enjoy it.

And you will enjoy this meal, no matter what you select.

It has chops. Seafood and an assortment of soups and salads, with vegetable and potatoes on the side.

But the big deal was the dessert finale.

Sord insisted I try their specialty, the “Chocolate Lava Explosion.” What can I say. I’m Arab. It appealed to me right away. And when they brought out the chocolate iced cake, ince cream and strawberry sauces, it was sizzling hot and the best dessert I’ve ever eaten.

The dessert menu includes other choices, too. Tiramisu, carrot cake and all kinds of cheese cakes (Pumpkin Pie cheesecake, New York style cheesecake and Chocolate Mousse cheesecake), and the usual fare of fresh fruits, strawberries and nuts.

I wouldn’t call the dining room Spartan, but it is simple and has class. It’s not cluttered. It’s very clean and the wait-staff is not only efficient and pleasant, but they’ll walk you through the menus and their assortment of California and some French wines.

Check it on the weekend with a reservation if you want to impress your date, or your wife. But they have a great lunch menu and also a Sunday Brunch from 10 until 3.

They even have a kids menu, something that when I was a kid, no one thought to offer.

And, of course, scoop up those Green Noodles.

They’re great.

The Scoop:

94 West Steak and Seafood
15410 S. 94th Avenue, Orland Park
708-364-9494 for reservations

Ample parking
Dress casual to fine


Friday, March 19, 2010

Jerusalem Post: Why doesn't the Government want to know about Arabs in America?

Bookmark and Share

Yalla Peace: Some other race?

Why doesn't the government want to know how many Arabs there are in the US?

A lot of Israelis think it is rough growing up Jewish in the Western world, but we Palestinians and Jews share a lot. It’s just as difficult for us.

As a child, my friends once surrounded me and demanded to know “What are you?”

What am I, I wondered. “I’m American.” No you’re not, they insisted.

So I went home and asked my dad. “Dad, what am I?” My dad shook his head and said, “Ya rubbee. Don’t tell them you are Palestinian. Tell them you are Syrian or Lebanese.”

Imagine, it was okay to be Syrian or Lebanese back then. So I went back to school and the kids surrounded me again and they asked “What are you?” I told them: “I’m cereal. But I think my mother is a lesbian.” Badda boom! Great joke in my comedy lineup but also a true reflection of the challenges facing Arabs in America.

Things haven’t improved at all. In fact, they’ve gotten worse.

Recently the US Census announced its decennial campaign to “count” all Americans. You see, in America, money is distributed based on the ethnic and racial demographics of the population – how many people each ethnic and racial group has.

If the census shows blacks living together in one spot, the government designs political boundaries to help black voters strengthen their voices in elections.

THREE TIMES over the past 30 years, the US Census has spent millions on lobbying ethnic and racial communities to convince them to fill out the census forms which ask questions about family size. Traditionally, though, minorities have resisted the census believing it is a way for the government to peek into their lives, and then punish them for things they might be doing wrong.

Hispanics fear that the government might discover some of their relatives are “illegal aliens,” for example. (Actually, things could be worse for me. Instead of being Arab, I could be “Hispanic” and have the word “panic” built in to my name.)

So the census has added “ethnic identity” to the form and identified 29 ethnic and racial peoples to help them more easily be counted. And, the more easily you can identity yourself, the more benefits you may get.

When you review the census form’s long list of 29 “recognized” ethnic and racial groups, you notice that Arabs, and Jews by the way, are not included.

The groups are:


Black people are listed in three different categories on the form: Black. African-American. Negro. (A strange apparition in 2010)

Hispanics are listed in five different ways on the form: Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin. Mexican-American. Chicano. What country does Chicano come from?

The census also identifies American Indian and Alaskan native. They even give them space on the form to write in their tribe.

There are all kinds of Asians. Lots of them. Asian-Indian, Japanese, native Hawaiian, Chinese, Korean, Guamanian or Chamorro, Filipino, Vietnamese and Samoan. Just in case they missed someone, they’ve added categories for other Asians such as Laotian, Thai, Pakistani and Cambodian. They also have Pacific Islander, Fijian, Tongan. Who are Tongans?

I know why they don’t have Arab or Jew written on the US Census form. They don’t have any room left on the form.

Now, many people think that Jews already “control the news media” and don’t need to be counted. They have the highest voter turnout of any group in the country and are considered among the most politically empowered.

SO THAT leaves us Arabs. What do we have? Zip. Zilch. Zero. How many ways can I say ‘nothing’? The fact that the US government doesn’t want to know how many Arabs there are in America or where they live is really kind of strange, actually.

Because since September 11, 2001, the US government has done everything it can to identify Arabs and Muslims, too. Usually at airports, profiling us to pull us out of lines and give us the third degree. When it comes to something bad, the government is all over us as Arabs. But when it comes to getting something good, like power, the US government leaves us out. And it doesn’t count us.

We’re told when we complain that Arabs are not listed on the US Census form that we Arabs can just write our name on the “other” line at the bottom of the form.

That is so demeaning. I don’t want to be “other.” How much have we lost as Arabs in America because we’re not counted by the census?

Well, take a place like Chicago for example, that has 36,000 to 38,000 city jobs paid for by taxes (we Arabs pay taxes, too). Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was in Dubai last year trying to raise money for his near-bankrupt city, the second largest in America, by the way. He told
the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chicago has 250,000 Arabs. He treats them well, he boasted.

In fact, next month, Daley will be feted at a dinner hosted by the Arab American Institute in Washington for all the “good things” he has done for “his” 250,000 Arabs.

Well, it turns out he hasn’t done much for his Arabs at all.

Chicago has 3 million people. Do the math. Arabs are about 8 percent of the population. That means we should have 8% of the city’s jobs, or about 3,040 city jobs. Arabs have only about 200 total jobs in the city.

Arabs being paid to promote the census are angry with me. But I have learned one important fact when it comes to American politics: If you can keep ethnic groups from knowing how many they are, you can un-empower them.

Named Best Ethnic Columnist in America by New America Media, the writer is a Palestinian-American columnist and peace activist. He can be reached at

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cub Scout's Pack 372 Blue & Gold dinner brings back memories

Bookmark and Share

Watching my son and dozens of other Orland Park Pack 372 Cub Scouts receive their badges and graduate to Boy Scouts at the annual Blue & Gold dinner brought back a lot of memories from when I was a kid.

Wow, have things changed.

My son is so excited about the Cub Scouts. He is earning and collecting his badges faster than I can keep pace with all that he is doing. His room is filled with Cub Scouts memorabilia and he's only been in the pack about six months.

Although things are different, in reality not much has changed. The scouts have lots of fun. They meet new friends. And, they enjoy projects, events, camp outs and even hikes.

I remember earning my Bear Badge. And then I went into Boy Scouts. I have one medal from the Hiawatha Trail, which was a 10 mile hike, I think that took us along the Lake Shore Drive and the railroad tracks. Lots of walking and having fun. We stopped at Wimpy's downtown and had a snack. And then hiked back.

In the old days, we had one parent run the entire den meetings. Parents didn't attend with their sons. Now, it's expanded for a lot of reasons and every Scout has at least one parent with them at Den meetings and Pack meetings. And that just adds to the time I can spend with my son who is growing fast.

We've only been on one overnight, but it was so much fun we're going to do more. And we're looking forward to our first hike and first overnight camp out. I have the cots and sleeping bags. With all the other miscellaneous gear, they weigh a ton. So I bought an collapsable "dolly" so that I can carry the load, since I'm basically not only my son's best friend, but his sherpa, too. (Do they have badges for the parents?)

I've also noticed that lots of women get involved with the Cub Scouts, too. The moms are very active and some Cub Scouts bring along their sister who enjoy the events as much as the boys. It's all good natured and lots of fun.

His badges go on a "Brag" vest made out of red felt. And he has dozens of more badges to earn. He just might even make it into the Order of the Arrow, which senior Boy Scouts performed for the Cub Scouts who graduated into their ranks.

I can't say I am an expert on scouting. But I can say it is a lot of great fun.

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The babies at the Census and Detroit ...

Bookmark and Share

The Census is a job creation program. Not jobs for you but jobs for itself. They have received $1 billion and plan to spend it to convince people to fill out the Census forms which discriminate against many ethnic and racial groups.

The alleged purpose of the census is to help distribute the $435 billion in federal funds -- but the truth is the government doesn't use the census to fairly distribute the funds. Instead, they pick and chose based on political favorites. Many ethnic and religious groups are denied federal funding -- and also the trickle down funds from states and municipalities because of who they are. American Arabs, for example, do not share equally or fairly in the national funding at all. The Census falsely claims that is because American Arabs do not fully participate. In fact, American Arabs do fully participate in the census and have been since 1980 -- I worked with the census as an unpaid volunteer in 1980 and in 1990 and supported the effort in 2000 with my media and newspapers.

What I discovered is the lying bastards at the US Census are cowards, too. They know American Arabs are shortchanged. The STATISTICS PROVE IT. In fact, after 30 years of supporting the Census, the DATA SHOWS AMERICAN ARABS ARE DENIED FUNDING at a far greater pace than ANY OTHER ethnic group.

That has to do with the anti-Arab hatred in America, that started long before Sept. 11, 2001 became the convenient excuse.

All you have to do is look at Chicago, for example, where federal and local funding is disbursed not to American Arabs who make up 8 percent of the city's population (250,000 out of 3 million according to Mayor Sleepy, Richard M. Daley), but to other ethnic and racial groups.

In fact, the flaw of the census is obvious. The Census forms ONLY identify 29 FAVORED ethnic groups that are "PC". They get not only the spotlight but all the funding. And their needs are artificially reinforced.

African Americans are listed three times on the form. Hispanics 5 times and Asians a dozen.

And when American Arabs ask to be included, they are pilloried not only by the Census maniacs but by the hacks and shills in the American Arab community who are hired and paid by the Census to mislead their own people. Quislings is the proper word in this case, I believe.

Recently, I traveled to Michigan to give a comedy presentation. At the dinner, the Census was a "sponsor." They begged the host to ask me not to skewer the Census in my show as I do often. As a courtesy to the Census and a gesture of compromise, I dropped the Census segment in which I shish-kabob the Census lies.

They invited me out to lunch and we have stuffed grapeleaves and they said they wanted to continue the dialogue. Of course, weeks went by and I heard nothing. But maybe because they insisted on paying for my $6 plate of stuffed grapeleaves they felt that was enough money to buy off American Arabs like me who question their motives and their lies.

So when I continued my campaign to educate American Arabs about the lying Census lies, they acted by apparently punishing the sponsor.

That shows you the true colors of the Census and some of the American Arabs working for the Census in Dearborn and Detroit.

Their goal isn't to protect the American Arab community. Their goal is to make money. The jobs they create are jobs for themselves and their family members and their friends. That's why they need you to support the Census so they get their paychecks.

Without the money, none of them would be advocating for the Census.

I'm not paid and my voice rings truth.

The Census is skewered and unfair. It highlights 29 ethnic and racial groups, three in particular, unfairly. And, the US Census refuses to include the word "ARAB" among the 29 special ethnic and racial groups. Because the word "ARAB" is not listed, many American Arabs believe they are being discriminated against and do not fill out the Census forms. Even those who have know that simply writing in the word "Arab" on the line called "Other" at the bottom of the form is worthless and does nothing.

If the US Government and the US Census doesn't believe it is important to put the word "ARAB" on the Census form in a decade when American Arabs and the Middle East have dominated the news headlines, why would you then think they would care enough to make sure American Arabs get their fair share of the jobs, contracts and funds that government gives to communities? They are not doing it now and they won't do it even if they have counted and identified every single American Arab in the country.

American Arabs are cheated and denied government grants and awards -- these are monies that don't come from the government but come from taxpayers and American Arabs are taxpayers and pay their taxes like everyone else.

Fairness is not going to happen until the US Census and the US Government finally recognize that American Arabs have rights, too. Until then, going along with the plan only reinforces the bigotry and discrimination. Speaking out, as I and others are doing, is the only way to change things.

-- Ray Hanania 

Monday, March 8, 2010

American Arabs should resist the Census and demand their rights

Bookmark and Share

American Arab rights jeopardized in Census 2010
By Ray Hanania

There is a big push by the US Census targeting the American Arab community to participate, but it’s not new.

They have been saying the same thing now for 30 years: if American Arabs would just fill out the Census form and “right in” the word “Arab” in the “Other” category at the bottom of the form, American Arabs will benefit immensely.

And every decade, the same thing happens. American Arabs participate and they get absolutely no benefits. No benefits, that is, except the American Arab organizations and activists hired and paid by the census to treat the American Arab community like mindless lemmings.

American Arabs are so disrespected that the Census isn’t evenly shameful about the exploitation, insisting against the facts that American Arabs will benefit.

Benefit? How? Will we get jobs for American Arabs? No. The only jobs that come from the Census go to the muscle minority communities like the African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and the others that make up the 29 racial and ethnic groups identified by name on the Census form.

Will be get local municipal, regional, state or federal contracts? No. The contracts will go to the 29 ethnic and racial groups named on the Census forms.

The fact is not one of the American Arab activists can identify one specific benefit that American Arabs have received since we first began supporting the Census campaigns back in the 1980s.

Yes, the 1980s. I was there writing for a community newspaper when the government reached out to American Arabs and I did my part, writing columns and essays urging American Arabs to participate.

In 1990, again, the government came to the American Arab community and hired members of our community and bought advertising and even awarded grants to groups that promoted the Census. I did my part then too, never asking for a penny, believing the BS that somehow things would change and American Arabs would benefit from being “counted.”

In 2000, we did the same thing. We participated. I wrote more columns. We lobbied the community and urged them to participate.

And you know what? Nothing happened. Even though American Arabs participated, we were excluded from major contract awards, employment and more importantly in political empowerment.

It’s no secret that the majority of American Arabs in Chicagoland live on the Southwest Suburbs in District 230, the high school district that includes three high schools. No one from the state suggested that a legislative district be drawn to encompass the Arab community and “empower” us by consolidating our voter strength.

Sound implausible. It’s not. The State of Illinois has done that very thing to create Hispanic Districts and Black Districts. They’ve given jobs to Hispanics, Blacks and Asians.

They’ve awarded contracts to those communities and awarded huge grants to fund arts and culture.

But not for American Arabs.

And you know why?

Because for the past 30 years, American Arabs have been taken for granted. Instead of fighting for what is ours – we pay taxes like everyone else in this country – we just went along trying to be “good citizens,” filling out the forms and writing in our names.

Now suddenly a group of high-profile selfish American Arab leaders who are paid by the Census – the only people getting jobs in our community – are telling us if we don’t fill out the Census forms “the American Arab community will lose.”

Lose what?

Lose jobs? We’re not getting even a sliver of what we deserve. There are 38,000 employees in the City of Chicago and we account for 250,000 of the city’s 3 million residents. That means we should get 7.5 percent of the 38,000 jobs.  That would be almost 2,400 jobs. We have barely 300 total jobs, or 2,100 jobs short of what we should get but don’t.

And it’s worse at the state level were $19 million are disbursed every year to fund cultural and arts projects for various ethnic and racial community groups. The American Arabs get about $200,000 and half of that goes to non-Arab groups identified as “Middle Eastern” including Iranians and Israelis and Jews, the latter group also get even more from the state of Illinois.

This pattern is repeated in nearly every state in the union. We’re 4.5 million American Arabs and what do we have to show for it? Harassment, neglect, abuse, denial and one of the highest job loss rates in the country.

We have a handful of teachers in Chicago, and even less in the suburbs. We have a handful of elected officials, and not one district carved out for American Arab empowerment.

Now you can continue to do what we have always done, bent over without as much as a whimper and listen to the paid American activist flaks who are telling us to support the Census – to protect their jobs.

Or, for the first time in 30 years, we can stand up and make a statement against being exploited by a country that routinely abuses and denies our rights while targeting us for terrorist profiling.

We can make a statement in a powerful way or we can allow ourselves to be marginalized by American Arab leaders who benefit from the blood-money they are paid to lead us into national weakness.

Sometimes, it is easier to pick up crumbs than to fight for the cake.

I say, let’s fight for our rights and tell the Census and their mercenaries to “take that Census form and Shove it!”