Online forum hosted by Arab American Chamber of Commerce honors Tabares and Pappas

Online forum hosted by Arab American Chamber of Commerce honors Tabares and Pappas
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Online forum hosted by Arab American Chamber of Commerce honors Tabares and Pappas

#AmericanArabChamberofCommerce forum May 27, 2021 with Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas program to help Arab businesses; 23rd Ald Silvana Tabares, AACC Pres Hassan Nijem, House of #Hookah owner #RayidKhalil on saving 300 Arab American jobs. Click here to watch the video.

The Arab American Chamber of Commerce is hosting an online forum that will be streamed live on Facebook today, Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 7 PM CST (Chicago time).

The forum will feature a presentation from Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas on her efforts to be more inclusive of Arab Americans, as well as other ethnic and national groups in Cook County.

Pappas has translated nearly all of her department’s information into hundreds of languages including Arabic in order to better serve Cook County residents.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas with elected officials and Arab community leaders at the Arab American Heritage celebration at Oozi Restaurant April 10, 2019. Photo courtesy of Anthony Caciopo

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas with elected officials at a community event on April 10, 2019. Photo courtesy of Anthony Caciopo

The Chamber will also present an award to Chicago Alderman Silvana Tabares for her work to protect Arab Americans from the unintended consequences of seeking to crack down on flavored tobacco sales to young people.

In 2020, the Chicago City Council was preparing to approve a law that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco in the city. Although it only impacted sales in Chicago, it would become a blueprint law for many of suburban municipalities around Chicago.

The law inadvertently would have made it illegal for about 25 Chicago located Hookah lounges to continue operating. The Hookah lounges use flavored tobacco in the hookah lounges which are restricted to individuals who are aged 21 or older.

When the issue was raised, Tabares immediately responded. Working with Alderman Matt O’Shea, the chairman of the City Council committee considering the law, Tabares was able to adjust the law to permit the continued use of flavored tobacco in Hookah Lounges that prohibit entrance to individuals under the age of 21.

Chicago Alderman Silvana Tabares, 23rd Ward

Chicago Alderman Silvana Tabares, 23rd Ward

That change allowed the 25 Hookah lounges in Chicago to remain in operation and preserve the nearly 300 jobs employed by those businesses in Chicago.

“Alderman Tabares was very interested in hearing responses from every community and business person impacted by the effort to protect the health of young people and she did not hesitate to communicate with us and allow us to present our view,” said Arab American Chamber of Commerce President Hassan Nijem.

“As a consequence of the exchange of information, and our discussions, the law was changed to allow the Hookah lounges to continue to operate and that saved nearly 300 jobs in Chicago. It also sent a signal to suburban communities that night consider this, too.”

Award to Silvana Tabares, Alderman 23rd Ward, from the Arab American Chamber of Commerce, May 27, 2021

Award to Silvana Tabares, Alderman 23rd Ward, from the Arab American Chamber of Commerce, May 27, 2021

Also joining the forum will be Nemer Ziyad, CEO of Ziyad Brothers Importing and Hassan Musaitif, co-owner of Golden Corrall Restaurant at 33rd and Cicero Avenue, to talk about their businesses and their mission to serve the greater public.

“There are many misconceptions about Arab Americans because of factors overseas that we have no control over and the Arab American Chamber of Commerce and President Hassan Nijem provide a very important platform from which these stereotypes can be confronted and the public can be educated with the facts, and our elected leaders can also have a reliable and active resource where they can come and obtain information about our community,” said Ray Hanania, a former Chicago City Hall reporter and award winning newspaper columnist with Arab News in the Middle East and the Southwest News Newspaper Group in Chicagoland.

“Arab Americans need to be better organized to educate everyone about who we are and the Arab business community is no exception. Getting support and understanding from responsible elected officials can make a significant difference in ensuring our community gets the services and representation they deserve, and that the public better understands who we are, our priorities and even our views and actions.”

Sonia Khalil, the interim director of the Arab American Democratic Club, also will join the forum at 7 PM.

The Arab American Chamber of Commerce Forum will be available for live viewing on Facebook at The Arab Daily News Facebook Page.

Click here to view the live stream at 7 PM Thursday, May 27, 2021

The video file of the forum will be available to for public viewing on many Facebook pages afterwards.

#AmericanArabChamberofCommerce forum May 27, 2021 with Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas program to help Arab businesses; 23rd Ald Silvana Tabares, AACC Pres Hassan Nijem, House of #Hookah owner #RayidKhalil on saving 300 Arab American jobs.

Click here to watch the video.

Ray Hanania

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