DEARBORN- The Yemeni American News
Activists, politicians, writers and community members praised the Yemeni American News’ committed journalism at the newspaper’s 10th anniversary ceremony at the Arab American National Museum on Friday, July 27.
Several elected officials came forward with awards to the newspaper’s publisher Rasheed Alnozili on Friday.
Rep. Debbie Dingell presented Alnozili with a recognition from the US Congress. She recalled the beginnings of YAN a decade ago and highlighted the publication’s importance to the community.
“We’re living in very strange times,” Dingell said. “People are trying to divide us, pit us against each other. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press have never been more important. I never thought at this point of my life we would be fighting for all of these fundamental pillars of the Constitution.”
The congresswoman congratulated YAN and urged her constituents to “stick together” to withstand divisive rhetoric.
“It’s really wonderful to be a part of this community,” she said.
Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly said the city would be a “different community” without YAN’s journalism.
“We owe a lot to the fact that they (YAN staff) have the vision and dedication to make sure that the truth did get out,” O’Reilly said.
He added that the newspaper has been a tool for informing people and dispel false information.
“This has been a blessing for everyone because it has been a fair and very well-developed place to get information and understand what’s really going on,” the mayor continued.
O’Reilly presented YAN with an award on behalf of his office and the Dearborn City Council.
Kevin Hrit, the regional director for US Senator Gary Peters, stressed the importance of relations between elected officials and the communities they serve in these “serious times.”
“That’s why it’s so important that we have a free and fair press, so really we owe a round of applause for Rasheed and his whole team for doing this work – telling the truth and getting it out there,” Hirt said.
He added that people need to stand together and speak in one voice against the Trump administration’s unAmerican policies. “This community is doing that, and Rasheed, thank you for leading the way.”
Hirt presented a tribute to YAN on behalf of Senator Peters.
Wayne County Commissioner Gary Woronchak and State Rep. Sylvia Santana who are both running for the state Senate also awarded YAN with recognitions from their respective offices.
Woronchak, a former journalist, said the press is vital for democracy, but it is difficult to “make ends meet” for newspapers in today’s digital world.
“But somehow Rasheed and the Yemeni American News have done that. For that, I’m grateful and I wish you many more years,” he said.
Santana called YAN’s anniversary a “beautiful occasion”.
The state representative said it is important to shield local communities from the “negativity” at the national level with promoting understanding.
“I just want to say, thank you so much for what you do – putting information out in the community because information is powerful and we want positive information in our communities,” Santana said addressing Alnozili.
Zaineb Hussein, director of Diversity and Inclusion for Wayne County, presented an award to YAN on behalf of Wayne County CEO Warren Evans.
Hussein said the newspaper has a unique flavor, comparing it to the distinctive taste of Yemeni food.
“It’s genuine; it’s all about educating the people who are reading this paper. I am so amazed by how much it has developed over time,” she said.
Kipp Cozad, a lecturer Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois who writes for YAN, joined the celebration all the way from Chicago.
Cozad, who had lived in Yemen, talked about his bond with the country and the local community.
“It has been such a pleasure to write for the Yemeni American News over these years,” Cozad said, calling the paper an “engine of information.”
Cozad said Trump’s Muslim ban, which includes Yemen, brings him “so much pain.”
“Knowing the Yemeni community so well, I can’t think of a community less deserving of that,” he said.
YAN took the opportunity to honour Yemeni American businessman Mohammed Hassan, who is known as Abu Sinan, for his entrepreneurial spirit and giving back to the community.
Abu Sinan, who owns Alnawras Restaurant, thanked people who have contributed to his success, including his staff and business partner partner Abu Fahd.
Alnozili, who started the YAN a decade ago to amplify the voices of the Yemeni community after he had witnessed claims that 9/11 should be blamed on Yemenis, said he feels blessed and lauded his staff for reaching this milestone.
“I am lucky to have the right team,” he said. “I hope we can continue to grow and create more jobs, especially in Yemen. We want to move forward with the same commitment and motivation, while improving where we can. I want to thank our supporters, advertisers and most importantly our readers for their trust in our work.”