Believe it or not, Donald Trump has brought some groups together – namely the Muslim and Latino communities in Orange County, California. In an effort to make inroads with the local Latino community, Rida Hamida, president of the Arab American Chamber of Commerce, recently led a group of Latinos on a tour of Little Arabia (located in Anaheim).
“These are dark days for our community,” says Ms. Hamida. “Trump is rising while we’re being demonized. Muslims are told they can’t enter the country. Latinos are accused of being criminals. But if we come together for a movement, we can stay strong.”
According to the U.S. Census, there are about 25,000 immigrants in the OC who can trace their roots to the Middle East and other Muslim countries. Latinos, in turn, make up more than 1 million of the county’s 3 million residents.
“We are natural allies. Our numbers are going to matter together,” says Ada Briceno, interim director of Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD). “More than ever, it’s necessary to join forces because this kind of election rhetoric is disgusting.”
“Unconsciously, we already crisscross cultures with Latinos. We do commerce together – why not more?” comments Ms. Hamida who also makes the point that there are thousands of Arabic words influenced by the Spanish language.
We “can sympathize with what they’re going through because we’ve been through it,” says Carlos Perea, a sociology study from Santa Ana. “The big takeaway is we both are marginalized groups … facing a backlash in this election.”