IDEAS Club Hosts, Endorses Sam Jammal


Mt. SAC IDEAS Club hosted a Q&A with Sam Jammal on Tuesday, May 15, to learn more about the candidate running for the 39th District.

To preface the Q&A, the IDEAS club explained their acronym and purpose. IDEAS stands for Improving Dreams Equality Access & Success for all students, and the club is a support group for undocumented students at Mt. SAC.

IDEAS Club prepares to host Sam Jammal in Building 12, Room 1280. Photo Credit: Joshua Sanchez/SAC.Media.

Before the event started, the projector displayed slides of club members and other campus activists at several events including the May Day March. The march celebrated International Worker’s Day, and demanded labor issues be addressed.

The slides were accompanied by music, including Bob Marley’s Get Up, Stand Up and The Black Eyed Peas’ Where Is the Love?, to set the tone.

IDEAS membership is intended for undocumented students and allies, but the club is involved in activism for all causes, and their goal is to raise awareness and make a change.

One member brought up the protest they held against Ed Royce, the retiring Republican incumbent of the 39th District, at his office.

They also protested Royce’s policies by waiting outside Walnut Elementary School. Royce did not show up to speak as scheduled, and the group takes credit for his cancellation.

This event would be a focal point of Jammal’s message during the Q&A.

Jammal started the Q&A by saying he is “running for a lot of the ideas you all are fighting for” and then went into his personal background.

As a son of immigrants, Jammal has a mom from Columbia and a dad from Jordan, providing him with a different perspective.  His father only had $100 when he came to America, and he had to start pumping gas in order to put food on the table.

He eventually had to make a decision to fix his car or pay for classes. He did not finish school in order to provide for his family.

After explaining his background, he went on to say how troubling Trump’s message is to him, “Define America on our terms not Trump’s.”

As a 36-year-old, Jammal addressed that he was one of the younger candidates running, and that it is essential for the youth to get involved.

“There are two contemporary examples of change,” Jammal said.

He went on to list the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals DACA as two issues that the people changed their minds on.

Jammal warned that all legislation should not be just about codifying issues into law, but rather to move the ball forward.

He is a supporter of the clean DREAM act. The act is a legislative push for a comprehensive fix to immigration, and Jammal said that he does not want to leave folks behind. The law alone would leave family members of undocumented immigrants unprotected in the United States.

While Jammal was council for Colorado Senator Ken Salazar under the Obama administration, he was on the floor of the Senate when the DREAM act failed.

He labeled that act’s failure as a time when “our government failed” as the failure would leave several individuals behind.

He said that he advocates for the people to not accept government failure. “Don’t take no for an answer, [the] only path forward is yes,” Jammal said.

He also encouraged the people to organize outside offices to give an extra kick to elected representatives to represent the people.

Jammal vowed that he will hold monthly town halls, mentioning that those in Congress feel too far away, and that showing up moves the needle.

He also spoke about being a civil rights attorney and fighting for the rights of people. Jammal said that supporting the LGBT community is “all part of civil rights agenda.”

He brought up the progress made on marriage equality. He also talked about how there is still a long way to go. Even when an issue becomes a law, there are still cultural issues in the way of ensuring the law works.

Regarding the Citizens United ruling that considers political funding a form of protected speech, Jammal quipped when he said, “Washington [D.C.] is functionally a playground for the rich.”

Jammal told everyone that “everything we eat is touched by undocumented [immigrants].”

In regards to his campaign ad with the HIS dog Lulu, he said the focus of his ad was to not be boring.

In order “to click and connect” with the people, he encouraged having some fun with the campaign. He also said this angle would ensure there were no regrets of taking it too seriously.

He compared politics to Charlie Brown’s mother’s voice and said that barriers need to be broken through finding fun ways.

Jammal concluded the Q&A by saying his role is not just limited to voting. His role extends to being a community leader.

Following Jammal’s words, IDEAS officially endorsed him as their candidate and gave him one of their shirts.

Sam Jammal accepts IDEAS Club’s shirt and thanks them for their endorsement of his candidacy. Photo Credit: Joshua Sanchez/SAC.Media.

After receiving the shirt and endorsement, the session came to a close with a final photo. IDEAS Club members and the audience joined together to stand with Jammal.

IDEAS Club members in the front row stand among the audience in support of Sam Jammal. Photo Credit: Joshua Sanchez/SAC.Media.

Voting for the 39th Congressional District primaries is Tues., June 5.