Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen,
My name is Elizabeth Lakew. I am the President of the Young Democrats Club at Montgomery Blair High School.
I want to tell you a little about how this event came to be. Over the summer I was doing an internship at the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee. And a man came into the place I interned and handed me a folded piece of paper. That paper was a Facebook invitation hosted by the Chevy Chase Women’s Republican Club; they were hosting an event called “A Grand Old Party.” I simply asked, “What is this?” and he went on to say “They’re having an anti-Islamic event.” he said. I didn’t know what to make of this so I did what I thought was right; I reported this to my superior.
You can only imagine the thoughts that were racing through my head. I was confused, agitated, and livid; I didn’t believe it at first because I could not fathom any human being holding such hatred to a group of people that subscribed to a religion that preached peace and understanding. My agitation soon manifested itself into action. And later on I found a blogger named David Moon, and leaked the story to him.
And before you know it, days later Saqib and I were working together on this project. Initially, a few people told us we had no right to do this. That the Chevy Chase Women’s Republican Club had a right to hold this event and we didn’t have any right to stand up against this. They do have the right to hold any event/speaker they please. But we also have the right to protest/petition/speak out against anything we see unfit. Isn’t that what this nation was founded on? One of the many freedoms that are guaranteed to us as Americans is freedom of speech.
Personally I would like to tell you why I got involved in this. I believe helping coordinate this debate today, we will tackle a lot of the issues that have been swept under the rug for quite some time. Post 9/11, there has been a lot of discrimination against those who believe in/or are Muslim or Islam. And hopefully today we can discuss and share some of our viewpoints on this topic. I, in respect to my Muslim brother and sisters, will speak on behalf of teens everywhere that preach peace among religions when I say this: discriminating against a religion as a whole will not solve our problems. It will not stop terrorism, it will not stop the organized regimes that elicit violence, and it will not stop the deep rooted hatred that we have formed about one another based on making some things up, taking things out of context and dramatically twisting the tradition to which many people belong to, because ignorance has and always will be the catalyst toward destruction. Thus this debate, means the world to me because it tackles the issue of discrimination in America.
I want to thank all of you for coming out.