Dear Honorable MICRC Commissioners,
Our Yemeni American Community is a large and fast growing community centered in Wayne County with increasing families and community members located throughout the entire State of Michigan. While our community is mainly concentrated in Wayne county, there are other pockets in Branch and Washtenaw counties, and outside cities such as Coldwater and Flint. As a highly interconnected community, we have a unique family and kinship migration experience. It is often that entire families and villages migrate together and end up living close to each other on the same blocks. This valuable community connection, especially among new arrivals, makes it harder for families to separate from one another. The separation is what we are afraid will happen if you divide the City of Hamtramck from the rest of our communities. We are asking you to keep Hamtramck and the surrounding areas of Hamtramck as one State House district. Specifically, we’re urging you to consider adding more areas that can start from Georgia Street to the city Airport district because our community is moving rapidly to that area. The City of Hamtramck has seen tremendous population growth in the last decade mainly due to the increase in Yemeni Americans who are moving to the county and the city.
As a close-knit community, we have to deal with many challenging issues due to the nature of family migration with young kids as well as older citizens moving to the area. As organizations, we work closely with our elected officials on the city, county, state, and federal levels to advocate for better policy in areas such as education, health, and immigration. In the 2020 election, we were proud to have elected our first ever Yemeni American State Representative Abraham Aiyash who currently represents the district, including Hamtramck and portions of Detroit. Yemeni Americans have also been running and winning seats on city Councils and school boards, particularly in Hamtramck and Dearborn. This political awakening demonstrates the growth of the community. We also see the Yemeni community as a member of the larger Arab and Muslim diaspora in Wayne County. The community leaders work well together with neighboring communities.
We applaud the MICRC for your effort to draw maps that recognize our ‘community of interest’ in the areas where our community lives, as well as other communities. The State House Districts including Hamtramck, Dearborn, Detroit, Dearborn Heights, and Melvindale have the highest population of Yemeni and Arab community members. We believe the city of Melvindale should be included in this district due to the major Yemeni American population in this city. In the State Senate current map, you have recognized that presence and that’s truly appreciated.
One of the biggest issues the Yemeni Community faces is the horrors of the war in Yemen. This war has ravaged the country and we pray for our family members and friends who we have lost. There has never been a stronger argument for uniting our community of interest than this historic moment.
Federal representation for the Yemeni American community is direly needed. Therefore, we are asking for the commission to unite our communities together from Hamtramck to Dearborn to Melvindale to Dearborn Heights with Detroit. A district like that would truly unite our community. This congressional district can be drawn in line with the Voting Rights Act.
On behalf of the large Yemeni American community residing in Michigan, we are all asking for your consideration with this important task.
Dr. Abdulhakem Alsadah, President and CEO
National Association of Yemeni Americans (NAYA)
10415 Dix Ave., Dearborn, MI 48120
Mohsin Hubaishi, President
Yemeni American Benevolent Association (YABA)
2121 Salina St, Dearborn, MI 48120
Saif Ahmed, President
Arab American Society (Yemeni)
89 W. Chicago, Suite 1C, Coldwater, MI 49036
Luqman Saleh, Secretary General
Yemerican Public Affairs Committee
2112 Holbrook Ave., Hamtramck, MI 48212
Alhamza Saleh, President
Yemeni American Leadership Association
2112 Holbrook Ave., Hamtramck, MI 48212
Mohammed Abdullah, Executive Director
Yemeni American Association
10159 Dix Ave., Dearborn, MI 48120
Yemeni American Political Affairs Committee
Adel A. Mozip
Dearborn Board of Education Trustee
4400 Charles St. Dearborn, MI 48126