Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Congresswoman Urges Arab Americans to Make Views Heard

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Congresswoman Urges Arab Americans to Make Views Heard

Article excerpt

Congresswoman Urges Arab Americans to Make Views Heard

By Pat McDonnell Twair

At her first meeting with Arab Americans, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard was surprised to hear the Arabic interpretation of her husband's last name. Introducing her, senior vice president Fouad Khoury of Bank Audi told the congresswoman Al-Ard means "the Earth" in Arabic.

Representative Roybal-Allard said in turn that she immediately accepted the invitation for a dialog with a group of Arab Americans because she's had few opportunities to meet them in her 33rd congressional district. One of the most ethnically varied, it has the highest number of immigrants in the country, and also the dubious distinction of being the nation's poorest. The area includes the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, Chinatown, Pico Union, metropolitan Downtown Los Angeles, Little Tokyo, Filipino Town and a portion of Koreatown and Westlake. Of the 600,000 people living there, 59 percent are non-citizens.

Since her election to Congress in 1992, she has focused on the economic and political empowerment of her district. One step has been to offer seminars on naturalization for residents eligible for citizenship. …

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