As a licensed attorney, Abuznaid co-founded and served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Florida-based nonprofit Dream Defenders, an organization comprised of communities in struggle that was formed in the aftermath of the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Through his work with Dream Defenders, Abuznaid—who also served as the organization’s organizer and Legal and Policy Director prior to climbing the ranks to COO—helped lead the fight to end mass incarceration, police brutality and zero tolerance policies in Florida schools.
In 2014, Abuznaid advocated before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Ahmad has been a speaker on college campuses and at social justice conferences across the U.S., Canada and Europe.
In 2015, Abuznaid began to lead delegations of activists from the Movement for Black Lives to Palestine, in an effort to deepen relationships and build coalitions that are engaged in similar work beyond borders.
Abuznaid is a graduate of Florida State University and the Florida Coastal School of Law, receiving pro-bono honors.
“I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity to lead NNAAC,” states Abuznaid. “This is a deeply challenging time for the Arab American community—and for the American community as a whole. We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines; we cannot afford to work in silos; we cannot afford to lose. Our time is now. I am excited to work with ACCESS to meet the challenges facing our community head on.”
Abuznaid replaces outgoing NNAAC Director Nadia El-Zein Tonova, who was recently appointed Director of National Partnerships for ACCESS. As an ACCESS national institution, NNAAC serves a consortium of 27 independent Arab American community-based organizations throughout 12 states. NNAAC is dedicated to building the capacity of Arab American nonprofit organizations that focus on the needs and issues impacting local communities, while working to collectively address specific issues nationally. NNAAC—which champions the movement to TAKE ON HATE—is comprised of three main programs that include capacity building, advocacy and civic engagement, and youth and community service.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ahmad to our leadership team,” states ACCESS Executive Director and CEO Hassan Jaber. “He embodies the characteristics that are at the very core of our organization. He is a champion of grassroots civil rights activism who understands the significance of coalition work to effectively combat bigotry and impact change in our communities. As the communities we serve become even greater targets of biased policies and hateful rhetoric, we welcome Ahmad’s experienced leadership at this very critical juncture.”