CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab was presented with the Prophetic Leadership Award at Arise Chicago’s Fourth Annual Faith-Labor-Action Breakfast, on Tuesday, November 13th.
Arise Chicago is a 21-year-old organization whose mission is to build partnerships between faith communities and workers to fight workplace injustice through education and organizing and advocating for public policy changes.
The event was held at the Operating Engineers Local 399, a testament to the labor community’s power and perseverance in Chicago.
Lisa Parker of NBC 5 Chicago, led the event as the Master of Ceremonies; introducing the presenters and speakers for the program.
The event began with an opening prayer by Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann of the Mishkan Congregation of Chicago who made the connection between struggles for justice through faith and struggles for justice in the workplace.
Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steel Workers gave the keynote address in which he gave examples of how the USW helps workers who face injustice in the workplace.
In his acceptance speech, Rehab expressed his solidarity with workers’ struggles. Below are excerpts of Rehab’s speech:
“Assalamu Alaikum, Peace be upon you all. I have never received an award with such an epic name before: The Prophetic Leadership Award, wow. When my mother heard about it, she was concerned I’d start walking around with a staff trying to part doors. But seriously, it’s an apt name in that I’m in holy company this morning, for as I look around, I see friends and mentors who have dedicated their lives for the sacred cause of social justice. So thank you!”
“I was talking to a Catholic and a Jewish friend backstage and reflecting on how prophetic revelation at its essence was nothing short of a social revolution meant to challenge the social injustices of the time and beyond, this was the case for Moses, Jesus, Mohamed, Buddha, and others. It was that, before it was a set of dietary rules, or do’s and don’ts or religious rituals. And at the core of each of the great faiths is the golden rule. The Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him said, you do not truly attain faith until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”
“Everywhere in the Qur’an that mentions those who believe, is followed by those who do good. Faith and Action come hand in hand in our Islamic tradition. If you look behind me at the Arise logo, the word labor at the bottom is flanked by the words faith and action. Let us have faith in our fight for justice, faith in the future, but let us not have faith alone, let us follow it up with real work and never rest on our laurels.”
“Every human being is entitled to fair wages, every human being is entitled to a respectful workplace that does not abuse or undermine their dignity and that justly rewards their hard work. That is why I ask you today to not leave this room without acting, without giving a little something to Arise to help the organization continue its great work. Thanks again for the recognition. Assalamu Alaikum”
Other awardees included Senator Kimberly Lightford of the State of Illinois for her Faithful Leadership and Stand Up! Chicago for their Inspirational Leadership.