Syrian American Council
(SAC) is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization based in the United States, and is the largest and oldest grassroots organization of Syrian-Americans. SAC is devoted to community organizing, awareness-raising, youth empowerment, media outreach, advocacy, and support for Syrians seeking to build a free, democratic, and pluralistic Syria. We serve to amplify the voice of the Syrian-American Community. Our membership includes individuals from all segments of Syrian society.
SAC was founded on November 20, 2005, in Burr Ridge, Illinois. The founding meeting was attended by representatives from Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and California. SAC’s first president and Council of Representatives (COR) were elected at that meeting. Today, the organization boasts 21 chapters nationwide with thousands of supporters.
Community Organizing and Mobilizing
Before the revolution, SAC sought to help build civil society in Syria and encourage respect for civil liberties and human rights. When the Syrian Revolution began, the Syrian-American community struggled to respond. Most Syrian Americans had been politically dormant and now wanted their voices to be heard, but did not know where to begin.
SAC transitioned its efforts to help the Syrian American community process what was happening in Syria and determine an appropriate response. We have organized town hall meetings and political events. We have engaged with U.S. government officials, think tank leaders, and both U.S.-based and international NGOs. We have organized advocacy days in Washington, DC for the Syrian American community and have coordinated trips to Turkey and Syria for young Syrian Americans. We have held rallies and marches across the United States. We have held various fundraisers and dinners, where we have raised millions of dollars to help alleviate the suffering of Syrians. All aid funds are raised on behalf of licensed relief organizations.
Our work is tailored to help support civilian efforts to build a free, democratic, and inclusive Syria. Our fundraising efforts come in response to the enormous humanitarian disaster the Syrian crisis has produced.
SAC uses its extensive national network, public relations staff, and contacts in the media to help Syrians and Syrian-Americans connect with various media outlets and get their stories heard. SAC’s members are regularly interviewed on national and international media outlets, and its members’ writings have appeared in major publications across the United States.
SAC’s members routinely travel to Syria and maintain an extensive network of contacts in the country. We use the information we garner from these trips to raise awareness of events in Syria among the American public and in the halls of government through a series of national awareness and advocacy campaigns. These campaigns are enabled through our chapters across the U.S.
SAC advocates on behalf of the Syrian-American community. Our staff members regularly engage with U.S policy makers to explain both the position of the Syrian-American community, and the situation on the ground in Syria and the wider region. We seek to keep the U.S. government informed and engaged on Syria, with a view to promoting policy changes to support Syrians seeking to build a free, democratic, and pluralistic Syria. From the White House to Capitol Hill, Doha, Istanbul, Aleppo, and Kafranbel, SAC members work tirelessly to help lay the groundwork for a better future for Syria.
SAC members attend and participate in Syrian opposition meetings and conferences around the world. We take part in the dialogue that will determine Syria’s future, on behalf of a Syrian American community that cares deeply for its ancestral homeland. SAC engages with other Syrian opposition groups in dialogue and planning efforts for the transition into a post-Assad era, and co-founded the Coalition for a Democratic Syria, an umbrella group for Syrian-American organizations working in Washington, DC.
Recognizing the important difference young people can make, SAC’s youth empowerment efforts strive to engage and mobilize young Syrian Americans. These efforts occur locally, at university campuses around the country, and internationally. We have helped college activists organize vigils and rallies, and sponsored trips for Syrian-American youth to visit Syrians displaced by the conflict, both inside and outside Syria. These young activists connect with their fellow Syrians while on their trips, distribute substantial humanitarian aid, and then return to their campuses and communities to relate their experiences to their fellow Americans.
SAC’s mission is to organize and mobilize the Syrian-American community so that its voice is heard on issues of critical importance to Syrian-Americans. We devote ourselves to community organizing, awareness-raising, youth empowerment, media outreach, advocacy, and support for Syrians seeking to build a free, democratic, and pluralistic Syria.
SAC strives to achieve its mission by:
- Organizing and mobilizing the Syrian American community
- Supporting human rights, civil liberties, and democracy for all Syrians
- Working with the U.S. government and the international community to bring peace to Syria
- Alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people
- Promoting friendly relations between the American and Syrian people
- Encouraging international cooperation based on respect and dignity for all
To be the community organization that empowers Syrian Americans to leverage their unique identity as both citizens of the United States and sons and daughters of Syria and to play a critical role in the future of both nations.