Welcome to America’s Most Diverse Congress

February 5, 2021


Joe Biden signed an Executive Order to start undoing the misery wrought by family separation; Trump team, in filing, argues impeachment trial is unconstitutional; Senate confirms Alejandro Mayorkas to lead Homeland Security and Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary; Impeachment managers argue Trump Is 'singularly responsible' for Capitol attack; In a blow to Trump, Republicans rally, keeping Liz Cheney in power; Buttigieg on Rosa Parks's birthday promises 'equity' at Transportation Department; Senator Sherrod Brown demands Rand Paul wear a mask on Senate floor; House impeachment managers request former President Donald Trump testify at trial; Schumer, Warren introduce bill calling on Biden to wipe out student loan debt; Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene removed from committee assignments via Democrat led House vote.  


 In This Issue 

  • Our Guide to Understanding the Dynamics of the 117th Congress
  • The Looming Threat of Social Media Censorship
  • US Urges India to Hold ‘Dialogue’ with Protesting Farmers
  • Bill Bazzi, Marine Vet and Ford Engineer, is Dearborn Heights' First Muslim Mayor
  • Muslim Council of Britain Elects its First Female Leader
  • Incoming Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security Plans Investigations Into COVID Response, Domestic Terrorism
  • Johnson & Johnson Submits One-Shot Covid-19 Vaccine for FDA Authorization




The members-elect of the 116th Congress pose on the East Front Plaza of the Capitol on Nov. 14, 2018. Photo Credit: Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images


Our Guide to Understanding the Dynamics of the 117th Congress

By: M Baqir Mohie El-Deen, MPAC's Policy Program Manager

Welcome to the 117th Congress of the United States. This new congress has made history in many respects. This is the most racially and ethnically diverse congress in the history of our nation, with almost a quarter of the Congress identifying as either. But there is still room for more change. While we saw the most women in history elected into Congress, more than double the amount from even a decade ago, women form only a quarter of the 117th Congress. Non-hispanic whites account for 77% of this session, however they represent only 60% of the US population. This aspect of the racial gap has continued over the years: three decades ago, 94% of members of Congress were white while representing 80% of the U.S. population.

However, in the U.S. House of Representatives, some of the racial and ethnic representation are proportionate to their share of the American population.

Read the full article


Photo credit: dole777 on Unsplash


The Looming Threat of Social Media Censorship

By: Prema Rahman, MPAC's Human Security Program Manager

Tech giants like Facebook have come under increased scrutiny for the role they play in disseminating news and information, especially as it pertains to the spread of false narratives and divisive rhetoric. And rightly so. In 2018, in a testimony before a joint Senate Committee, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted responsibility for failing to stop the spread of fake news on his platform, which many speculate contributed to Trump’s 2016 presidential win. Since then, social media companies have moved in an opposite direction--toward censorship. Following the January 6th Capitol insurrection, Twitter swiftly issued a ban on Trump’s personal account for inciting violence. Google and Apple followed suit by taking Parler, a social networking platform popular amongst right-wingers, off their app stores. Efforts on the part of tech companies to counter hate speech is welcome; however, broad censorship brings about a new set of concerns about precedence, overreach, and accountability. The ultimate dilemma here is this: neither can we allow hate speech to go unchecked under the guise of free speech, nor can we let Silicon Valley executives determine the parameters for censorship.

Read the full article


 Good to Know 




Feb 1, 1948 - Nine Malay sultanates and two British Straits Settlements (Penang and Malacca) form the Federation of Malaya; Feb 1, 1958 - Egypt & Syria announce plans to merge into United Arab Republic; Feb 3, 2016 - US President Barack Obama visits his first US mosque - the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque in Maryland; Feb 3, 1980 -Mohammed Ali tours Africa as President Carter's envoy; Feb 4, 1969 - The Palestine National Congress appoints Yasser Arafat chairman of the PLO; Feb 4, 1986 - Israeli fighters intercept Libyan passenger airliner; Feb 5, 1935 - 1st election to allow women to vote in Turkey; Feb 5, 1989 - Kareem Abdul-Jabar becomes 1st NBA player to score 38,000 points; Feb 6, 1911 - Great fire destroys downtown Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey); Feb 6, 1979 - Supreme court of Lahore affirms death sentence against Premier Bhutto.

Feb 1, 1790 - US Supreme Court convenes for 1st time (NYC); Feb 1, 1865 - JS Rock, 1st African American lawyer to practise in US Supreme Court, admitted to bar; Feb 1, 1865 - 13th Amendment approved (National Freedom Day); Feb 1, 1871 - Jefferson Long of Georgia is first African American to make an official speech in US House of Representatives (opposing leniency to former Confederates); Feb 1, 1965 - Martin Luther King Jr. and 700 demonstrators arrested in Selma, Alabama; Feb 1, 1978 - Harriet Tubman is 1st African American woman to be honored on a US postage stamp; Feb 3, 1870 - US state of Iowa ratifies the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution allowing suffrage for all races & color; Feb 3, 2009 - Eric Holder becomes 82nd and 1st African American US Attorney General; Feb 4, 1789 -1st US electoral college chooses George Washington as President and John Adams as Vice-President; Feb 5, 1917 -Congress overrides Wilson's veto, curtailing Asian immigration; Feb 6, 1820 -1st organized emigration of blacks back to Africa (NY to Sierra Leone).





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