BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid, the first Palestinian American to be elected into the Illinois General Assembly, held a district swearing-in ceremony last Saturday before a gathering of community members and leaders, as well as federal, state and local officials.
“It was a privilege to reaffirm my oath of office before family, friends, elected leaders, and the communities that make up the 21st District as I begin my first term,” said Rashid. Rashid’s swearing-in ceremony was administered by the Hon. Judge Rouhy Shalabi, who is the first Palestinian-American judge in Illinois’ history.
Rashid’s district inauguration event was held in Bridgeview at SeatGeek Stadium. More than thirty elected leaders, including U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias were in attendance, as well as over 120 community members and leaders.
Below is an excerpt from Rep. Rashid’s speech:
Dr. King said in his I Have a Dream speech: “This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.” Sixty years ago, we needed the transformation that the civil right movement represented and that Dr. King, Malcolm X and so many others fought for.
Today, sixty years later, we still need transformational change to root out the evils of racism and greed that are tearing at the fabric of our society. But that can only happen if all of us, people of conscience, white, Black, Latino, Asian, Native American and Arab–of all creeds and backgrounds–join together, build coalitions, and pass policies and budgets that reflect our values. Transformational change is possible–we’ve seen it before–even if it isn’t easy.
The 21st District includes all or parts of Bedford Park, Berwyn, Bridgeview, Brookfield, Chicago (parts of 23rd & 13th Wards), Cicero, Countryside, Hodgkins, Justice, La Grange, La Grange Park, North Riverside, Riverside and Summit.