2018 Banquet Speakers
Our 14th Annual Banquet “RESISTANCE 3.0” is set to take place on Saturday, February 10th, 2018, at 6:00 p.m., at Drury Lane.
Keynote: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf is a former NBA player and motivational speaker. As an NBA star, Abdul-Rauf gained fame after refusing to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner" and opting to pray silently instead. This sparked much controversy and Abdul-Rauf was fined over $30,000 each game. Abdul-Rauf lives in Atlanta with his wife and five children. Since his retirement from basketball in 2011, Abdul-Rauf is a motivational speaker and he is an instructor for a basketball and personal training service in Atlanta that targets creativity, shooting, defense and strength, and conditioning.
Emcee: Dena Takruri
Dena Takruri is a Senior Presenter at AJ+ and one of the channel's founding members. She is recognized for her bold and immersive reporting, characterized by speaking truth to power in any setting and giving voice to those unheard. Many of her videos have gone viral, earning millions of views on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Dena has reported internationally on tensions between North Korea and the U.S., Catalonia's independence crisis, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Europe's refugee crisis, where she was one of the first journalists to ever broadcast using Facebook Live in 2015. Among the U.S. domestic stories she's covered are the 2016 presidential race, Flint's water crisis, AIPAC's annual policy conference, the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, and ICE's crackdown on undocumented people under Trump. She has extensively covered the #BlackLivesMatter movement and issues related to Arab and Muslim communities in the U.S. Dena is also a producer and featured profilee in the Peabody and Emmy-nominated web series “The Secret Life of Muslims.” Previously, she worked at HuffPost Live and Al Jazeera Arabic. Dena holds an MA from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and a BA from UC Berkeley.
Fundraiser: Dr. Altaf Husain
Altaf Husain is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a double alumnus of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, having earned his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and his M.S. in Social Work. He received his Ph.D. in Social Work from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Husain's research interests include the mental health and integration of immigrant and refugee families, and especially Muslim adolescents, in the United States. He serves as Vice President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Vice President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and an advisory board member of the Peaceful Families Project -dedicated to the prevention of domestic violence. His past service to the community includes serving as a two-term national president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA National) and an executive committee member of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA). Dr. Husain lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and their children.
Special Guest: Congressman Michael Quigley
Mike Quigley was elected to Congress to represent Illinois’ 5th District on April 7, 2009. A former Cook County Commissioner who began his career through community service in the Lakeview neighborhood, Mike has served his community for more than thirty years. His election to Congress was an opportunity to take his unique style of reform-minded politics, which Chicagoans have known for years, from Cook County to Washington. In Washington, Mike has made government reform and fiscal responsibility the cornerstones of his legislative agenda. By starting from scratch and asking tough questions about what the government actually needs, his innovative “Reinventing Government” reports lay out detailed plans for streamlining the federal budget and reducing the deficit. He has also proposed smart policies to crack down on corruption and increase government transparency. Mike is the co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Transparency Caucus, and he has introduced landmark legislation that would significantly strengthen oversight at all branches of the federal government and utilizes 21st-century technology to expand public access to information.