Congresswoman issues statement in support of detained Iraqi Nationals

In response to Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling on January 2 – in which he ordered federal authorities to release Iraqi nationals that have been held for six months or more or grant them individual bond hearings by February 2 – Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) issued the following statement on January 3. 

“In America, due process is not a privilege, but an inalienable right for all. It is unacceptable, unjust and un-American for our government to simply lock up these individuals and hold them without proper cause and without full access to our judicial system and process. The Iraqi detainees and their families have suffered months of uncertainty and denial of basic rights. This court ruling is a step in the right direction. We must continue to demand a fair and transparent judicial process and adherence to the right of due process.” 

The following is an excerpt from Judge Goldsmith’s ruling. “Our legal tradition rejects warehousing human beings while their legal rights are being determined, without an opportunity to persuade a judge that the norm of monitored freedom should be followed. This principle is familiar to all in the context of the criminal law, where even a heinous criminal — whether a citizen or not — enjoys the right to seek pre-trial release.” 

Tune In

Songwriter and vocalist Steve Acho just signed an agreement to have his songs in commercials and movies in Europe.

Liberated and Celebrating

Holy Mass was celebrated on Sunday, January 20 in the town of Telkaif one year after being liberated from ISIS. Telkaif was primarily Chaldean Catholic before its people were forced out.

AFPD Partners with Convenience Stores Against Trafficking to take a stand against human trafficking

Recognizing the pivotal role that convenience stores can play in combatting the growing issue of human trafficking, the Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers (AFPD) have teamed up with Convenience Stores Against Trafficking to take a stand against the crime. Using a brief video and printed reference cards for in-store use, CSAT will provide training so that employees can understand the indicators of human trafficking and employee appropriate response protocols. These items were mailed to AFPD members, along with an informational packet.

Through this partnership, AFPD is hoping to educate convenience store owners and their staff of the warning signs of human trafficking and how to effectively deal with it.

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that occurs in every state, including Michigan.  “We are asking store owners to work with us by displaying hotlines in their stores,” said Auday Arabo, president and CEO of AFPD. “We want victims to find the help they are seeking.” 

CSAT provides training, victim outreach, and public awareness of human trafficking through convenience store partners. CSAT reaches out to victims through their Freedom Stickers. These stickers contain a message of hope and a phone number for the National Human Trafficking hotline - a nongovernmental agency with local networks of victim-centered responders.

Belting the Tunes

Shelbi Jouni played the role of Molly Pitt and a huntress in the Opera Martha by Friedrich Von Flowtow through the School of Music, Theater and Dance at Oakland University. Shelbi is a third-year vocal performance major at OU.