“I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind then that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it . . . and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” – Eugene V. Debs

Eugene V. Debs’ words drive CAIR-California’s (CAIR-CA) efforts at a time when the nation finds itself in a period of societal upheaval as it relates to the civil rights of vulnerable communities endangered by white supremacist ideologues and ultra-nationalist sentiment. At this moment in our country’s history, American Muslims face rampant religious prejudice and anti-Muslim animosity spread by the Trump administration’s political agenda and the hate mongers he inspires. Additionally, the Supreme Court’s rubber stamping of the Muslim Ban and the federal government’s pursuit of profiling Muslims throughout its various agencies fueled many of the Trump administration’s explicitly discriminatory policies towards Muslims. Such policies only strengthened and redoubled CAIR-CA’s resolve to advocate publicly and in lockstep with all Americans desirous of a future built on communal harmony, inclusiveness, and mutual understanding.

In response, the CAIR-CA legal staff work to assist the American Muslim community, as first responders against institutionalized and individual forms of Islamophobia. In 2018, our offices conducted 2,191 legal intakes with impacted individuals, in addition to providing grassroots organizing, advocacy, and direct legal services to redress violations of civil rights. With the reinforcement of more legal staff and the addition of new immigration legal services to the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento Valley offices, CAIR-CA now provides robust immigration services on matters such as naturalization, adjustment of status and asylum across much of the state. CAIR-CA’s offices also filed several lawsuits in 2018 to counter the deleterious effects of anti-Muslim bigotry.

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