Northern California Makes
Sustained Relief Efforts
By Ras H. Siddiqui
In what can only be described
as an “unprecedented” time by this reporter who
has been covering our community activities for the last 14
years, the past couple of weeks have witnessed so many South
Asian (read Pakistani and Muslim) earthquake fundraising events
in Northern California that a condensed version of some of
them will have to suffice here (with a lot of help from various
sources). There was just no way that this writer could possibly
have been present at all of them. And from such a response,
one can only hope that the mainstream media in the United
States will keep the plight of the victims of this horrible
natural calamity alive and that Americans and the Western
world will somehow find in themselves the will to be generous
to over three million homeless people who may freeze to death
without aid reaching them soon.
OPEN (Silicon Valley) President Umair Khan penned his personal
sentiments extremely well in an article titled “Scream”
where he offers a powerful voice to the voiceless victims
of the October 8, 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. “Spare
a scream for the 100,000 dead and 3 million homeless, muted
out of world media,” he writes. OPEN has been raising
this issue effectively. It has launched a "NATIONWIDE
CORPORATE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN" with the aim of getting
as many people as possible to push their companies to either
make a donation towards the relief effort and/or establish
an "employee matching" program. It has also established
a “CORPORATE HELPDESK” email@example.com
which will be ready to guide people in how to go about most
effectively communicating to and persuading their companies
to make a donation. (Rumor has it that Imran Khan will be
back in town for a November 19 joint OPEN and HDF Earthquake
Fundraiser, but I have not been able to confirm this yet).
The TCF Fundraiser at Chandni on November 12 has been postponed,
and this is confirmed.
Pakistanis at Stanford and the PSA at San Jose State University
have been very active in spreading word about this disaster
locally. The Stanford group needs to be commended because
the students there with the help of locally influential Pakistani-Americans
have held a candlelight vigil recently to promote the cause
of earthquake victims both on and off campus (Thanks Rana
Uzair). Last we heard from PAS, they had collected over $12,000.
No word yet on the amount collected during the Stanford “Fastathon”
held on the 23rd.
The small group from Tracy raised over $2300 for Hidaya and
collected medicines as well as food soon after the news of
the disaster came out (thanks Annie Akhtar). And the San Ramon
Valley Islamic Center (SRVIC) collected over $66,000 in Danville
on October 15th during an evening gathering. They were helped
out by Shalimar Restaurant who donated dinner. Our commendations
to SRVIC group for helping those in need (Thanks Anwar Masood,
Anwer and Shaista Siddiqui and Anwar Mirza).
for earthquake victims in the Bay Area
in the Bay Area say dua
Saqib Mausoof sent information
of fundraising activity in the City of San Francisco at the
Underground SF on October 25th and at the Rotee Restaurant
on the 26th when the entire day’s revenues went to this
relief effort. And of course 3rdI and the Film Festival in
San Francisco on November 12th will donate money to this effort
from the west coast Premiere of the film “It’s
My Country Too” in which Junoon’s Salman Ahmad
encounters Muslim life in America after 9/11.
Riaz Ahmad from Woodland, California reported that they had
collected $15,000 for the earthquake victims thus far. Folsom’s
Islamic community has also collected funds but the final numbers
are not yet in. ICF Fremont has collected over $42,000 and
is matching donations (thanks Salim Mastan).
The huge Earthquake Fundraiser held by Islamic Relief at Chandni
Restaurant on October 22nd raised some badly needed assistance.
The final count of the amount of money donated was not available
at the time of this writing.
And last but not least, the
joint Pakistani American Congress (PAC) and Pakistan Association
of San Francisco Bay Area (PASBA) Fundraiser held at Mehran
Restaurant on Friday, October 21st gathered together close
to 200 people who were guests of Fiaz, owner of this fine
eatery. Dr. Khawaja Ashraf, President Elect of the PAC, and
Anwer Siddiqui, President of PASBA, hosted the event. Over
$28,000 was raised in a few minutes as Pakistanis and their
friends who had already donated elsewhere still remained generous.
Amidst prayers held and tears shed for the victims of this
calamity one can say that our community showed a unity of
purpose that was refreshing. Poet Javaid Sayed put it in verse.
“Zalzala Hi Zalzala Hai Zindagi Ka Silsila” and
added “From Karachi to Peshawar the nation of Pakistan
is like a fort.”
There are two events tonight. Waseem Sufi has informed us
of an Interfaith Iftar and Fundraiser to be held is Livermore
this evening. Plus another event “RAISING HOPE: A BANQUET
FOR SOUTH ASIAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF” is to be held in
Berkeley during which City Mayor Tom Bates is scheduled to
speak. This event is a joint effort of several South Asian
and religious groups. Hopefull,y we can cover at least some
of this activity and the other large event scheduled for Tuesday,
November 1st in Sacramento in our next report. And let us
not forget the PADF and now CAIR appeal that this earthquake
calamity be remembered as a vigil by all of us on Eid Day!
(This from Zain Jeewanjee: Pakistani-American doctors are
encouraged to visit http://www.doctorsforhelp.com
to see if they can spare some time and go to Pakistan to treat
a huge number of the wounded and sick.).