See below for video from yesterday’s Pakistan Festival USA, held at Bull Run Park in Centreville, and celebrating both Pakistan’s independence day (August 14, 1947) and also the Northern Virginia area’s Pakistani-American community. The first video is of Pakistani-American Dr. Babur Lateef, the Interim Chair of the Prince William County School Board, running for election on November 6. As Dr. Lateef said in his speech (bolding added by me for emphasis):
I’m running this November on the ballot to stay the chairman of the School Board. We have the 37th largest school system in the United States. We have one of the most diverse school systems in the United States. I am just like you; I was born in 1972 in the United States to parents who came from Pakistan. They demanded that I work hard, that I study hard, and if I did that I would succeed. And I did that. My goals are to make sure all of your children do the exact same thing. The only path to success that is guaranteed in the United States of America is getting your college degree, getting a job. That will guarantee you success. I need to help all of you do that. So please this November 6 tell your friends in Prince William County to get out and vote for me. I’m focused on their kids’ success and their safety and security.
I’m also here today to speak on behalf of Senator Tim Kaine. Senator Kaine is running for re-election this November 6. It is critical that we get our community out there to vote for him. Senator Kaine has been a firewall for Virginia. He has defended the state and our community for our civil rights, our health care and education. He is the one standing up to bad policies that are coming out of Washington DC. We need Senator Kaine to be a reelected. So I appreciate you…getting out to vote and voting for Senator Kaine and all of our great congressional candidates who will also be on the ballot with me. Senator Jennifer Wexton is running, Gerry Connolly and Vangie Williams.
Del. Keam said that “freedom and independence shouldn’t be celebrated just one day, it should be something that we celebrate every single day of our lives.” Del. Keam added:
“We have to ensure that the next generation receives the same rights, same liberties that you and I have enjoyed, and the best way in America to do that…is to exercise your right to vote…because if there’s one thing we’ve learned, freedom is not free and your liberties can be taken away by somebody just because they don’t like the way you look. And we’ve seen and heard the rhetoric from across the Potomac. There are lots of people in Washington DC that want to take yours and my rights away from us…I urge all of you to get out there, become US citizens, get registered to vote and exercise your vote, and you have some wonderful candidates here who you can have a chance to vote this year, starting with my good friend, State Senator Jennifer Wexton.”
Sen. McPike added:
“You’ve already heard from Dr. Babur Lateef, who we need to elect as our school board chair again this November. We need your help if you’re in Prince William County. Come out and help Babur succeed as a leader in Prince William County. And you’ll hear in a moment from a colleague of mine in the State Senate, Jennifer Wexton, who has been a champion and a fighter for us, and we need to elect to Congress…Exercise your right, exercise your voice and muscle – and vote. And get your friends and family, that’s how we make change, that’s how we make a difference.”
For her part, Jennifer Wexton said:
“I am here to tell you that you are powerful. Do you know why there are so many politicians coming up here and saying all these nice things? Because you are powerful, because your word matters and your vote matters. If you want to make real changes, we have an opportunity to do that this November. If you don’t like what you’re seeing and from Congress and from Washington DC, we have an opportunity to change what’s going on there. We have an opportunity to make sure every every person has access to quality affordable health care. We have an opportunity to finally take some positive steps to end gun violence in our country. We have an opportunity to fight back against the the division and the hate that’s emanating from Washington. And you have the opportunity to make that happen by electing Tim Kaine to the Senate, by electing me, Jennifer Wexton, to Congress and by electing all of the Democrats in November. We are here because you are powerful. And people are going to come here and say pretty things to you, but I ask you to think about what are they doing to change the tone in Washington when they leave here today and you have an opportunity I promise I will fight for the values of this community every day as your member of Congress.”
Finally, Babur Lateef added:
“Senator Wexton is one of the best friends the Adams Center has in Fairfax County, she’s one of the best friends Dar al Noor has in Prince William County. If she wins her race, I win my race. I will not win without her winning. I need all of you. If you want to see a Pakistani-American lead the school board in Prince William County – the 37th largest school system in the United States, a budget of $1.5 billion and 90,000 students. I need Senator Wexton elected to the United States Congress in the 10th district. We need Jennifer Wexton out there.”