How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A Disney intern's uniform, with hijab

Photo courtesy of CAIR-LA

Noor Abdallah in her Disney uniform

A Disney intern who did battle with the company over her traditional Islamic religious head scarf, known as hijab, is at work in the job she was hired to do, and in a uniform adapted for her.

Noor Abdallah, 22, sought legal help after arriving from Illinois to begin work at the Anaheim resort. She had interviewed by phone for an internship as a Disney vacation planner, but upon arriving in California, she was informed that because of her hijab, she would instead have to take a stockroom job while a customized uniform was made.

Upon learning that she would have to wait five months for a custom uniform - the length of her internship - Abdallah sought assistance from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Islamic civil liberties group with an office in Los Angeles. Within a week, Disney relented, allowing her to work in the vacation planner job with a uniform that includes a blue head scarf with a beret-style hat over it.


DREAM Act supporters are back at it after bill is reintroduced

Photo courtesy of Cyndi BePhoto courtesy of Cyndi Bendezu, UCLA Downtown Labor Center

DREAM Act supporters hang a banner over the 101 Freeway downtown before the Senate vote last Tuesday, September 21, 2010

After the failure last week of a Senate bill carrying the DREAM Act to gain sufficient votes for cloture, supporters of the long-running proposed legislation have been granted what they wished for, more or less: a stand-alone bill. And while it's unlikely that it will come up for a vote this legislative session, supporters are once again trying to rally legislative votes in case it does.

On Wednesday, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) reintroduced the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, known as the DREAM Act, which had been attached to a defense authorization bill that came up for a vote last Tuesday, failing 56-43. The proposed legislation, versions of which have existed for almost a decade, would grant legal status to undocumented youths who arrived here at age 15 or younger if they attend college or join the military.


Disney employee allowed to wear hijab, may set precedent for others

Photo by TK/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Two women in hijab at a Southern California picnic, June 2008

A decision by Disney to allow a female Muslim intern to wear a traditional religious head scarf, or hijab, at work could set a precedent for other Disney employees who make an argument to wear the head scarves as part of their work uniform.

According to the greater Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Islamic civil liberties organization, the decision involved a young woman from the Chicago area who had interviewed by phone for an internship job as a Disney vacation planner in Anaheim.

In a press release today, CAIR-LA stated that when the unidentified intern arrived in California, she was informed by her new employer that she would have to take a different position with limited guest interaction, a stockroom job, while a customized uniform was created for her. The wait for a customized uniform was five months, according to CAIR-LA, the length of her internship.