As Americans, we pride ourselves on being a nation of immigrants. It is woven into the fabric of our nation. After all, most Americans are descendants of immigrants themselves and have come to the “land of the free and home of the brave” either by force or by choice. As a citizen of New Haven, one of my greatest sources of pride is knowing that our city is so representative of America’s incredible diversity.
“Our infrastructure is crumbling:” It is an expression we hear often in Washington —but what we do not hear as often are concrete plans to address our nation’s failing infrastructure. Both of this year’s presidential candidates agreed that we need to make substantial investments in rebuilding and expanding our infrastructure. In his acceptance speech, President-Elect Trump said: “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.”
Labor Day marks the end of summer, of family vacations and long days by the pool. It is a signal that the days of carpooling, Little League and homework are about to commence. While often regarded as a day for one last barbecue, Labor Day is importantly about celebrating the contributions of all working people. … And while Labor Day is a time to reflect on the incredible achievements of workers, we cannot ignore the fact that it comes during a critical election cycle and an unprecedented number of attacks on the rights of working people at the local and state level as well as in the race for President.
On this Labor Day, I have an important discovery to announce. No, it’s not Proxima b, the nearest planet to our solar system. My discovery is this: there is an American working class! And it exists right here in Connecticut. In fact, 62 percent of the population is working class. Because it’s not about income, it’s about power. Most of us have no control over what we do. The corporate elite (under 2 percent) make those decisions for us.
Our new brothers Dr. Jeffrey Cohen and Ted Hakey Jr., a former marine, are thrilled to join this year’s Jalsa Salana USA alongside myself, Dr. Mohammed Qureshi, our families, and the entire Ahmadiyya Muslim Community CT from Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque in Meriden. In a world exuding hatred, strife, and bloodshed, we sorely look forward to being a part of another moving demonstration “love for all, hatred for none,” and hope to bring that promising remedy to the rest of Connecticut.
With the recent tragedies in Orlando, Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas, this is a sad time for our nation and each and every one of its residents. It highlights in so many ways the worst of our instincts and policy failures –- lack of understanding, tolerance and acceptance as equals of the many groups that comprise this great nation; the ease with which weapons of war are obtained and used against both ordinary people and law enforcement officers; racial divisiveness, fear and fear-mongering promulgated by individuals, groups and mass media yearning for provocative messaging.
Over the last week, the nation has witnessed horror. The events have shocked our collective soul. They have been jolts to our conscience – both in Connecticut and across the country – that require a moment of mass reflection.
As Muslim Americans who believe in the Messiah Ahmad of Qadian, we sincerely advocate how our faith condemns the tragic shooting in Orlando that affected so many innocent lives and fellow Americans. We wholeheartedly join Muslims and Americans, domestic and abroad, in offering sincere prayers for the victims and their families, especially during Ramadan.