On Sunday, March 4, 2018, Independent- Political Action Committee (I-PAC) hosted its biggest candidate forum to date. In attendance were over 25 candidates who are currently seeking to get elected in various state and local level positions in Georgia. I-PAC, which launched in 2016, works towards creating relationships with elected officials in order to promote and preserve the rights and concerns of all American Muslims in Georgia. In light of the upcoming November 2018 election, this mandate has taken on an increased urgency hence this forum was of great significance.
Notabe was the fact that all candidates were eager to start a conversation with the Muslim community and showed a great deal of interest and enthusiasm for the event. In attendance were, gubernatorial candidate Stacey Evans, congressional candidates from 6th, 7th, 10th and 12th districts, and Georgia state senate candidates from various districts, in addition to others.
The keynote address was delivered by Ahmed Bedier, a prominent community organizer, radio show host and interfaith leader from Florida. Bedier emphasized the need for change stemming from the grassroots level and active Muslim engagement in the political process. He urged all attendees to get involved and encouraged the efforts made by the I-PAC.
Bedier stated, "People have suffered to get America where is it today that we don't need to go back and make America great again, America is already great and it needs to get better".
Addressing the theme of the event, unity, Dr. A Barzegar, a professor from Georgia State and the facilitator for the afternoon, posed the question of how various candidates would put the process of unification into action, rather than simply speaking of unity in rhetoric. What kind of policies and actions would they enact once in office to realize the ideal of unity for all people?
Invited candidates such as Jen Jordan, the current senator for the 6th district, praised the continued progress made by I-PAC and credited her success in "large part" to I-PAC for inviting her to meet the community. Conversations between candidates and the Georgia Muslim community are critical to both sides and will result in many success stories, according to the Jordan.
The forum’s theme of unity and the candidates' messages all resonated with one overarching message- when the people get involved, the dynamics of government change. The way forward is for communities to work hand in hand, to engage in coalition building with each other to generate change for a more inclusive and equal state.
The event concluded with the audience members leaving with an inspiringly optimistic state of mind. There was a call to action for the community to vote together as a block based on the candidate endorsements by I-PAC. Representing the Georgia Muslim community to the future leaders of our state and enforcing the ideals of unity our nation was built upon is what the I-PAC strives to achieve on a daily basis.
For more information about I-PAC visit our website at: https://www.ipacga.org// Find us on Facebook I-PAC Georgia: Independent Political Committee