Community Members Hold First Fundraiser for Obama in Orange County
By Anila Ali
Pictures by YKKB
Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng (top left) addresses the gathering and later mingles with members of the Pakistani-American community
Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) sister, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, spoke to a group of prominent Pakistani-American members of the community who had joined hands in fundraising for Senator Obama. She was the surrogate speaker for Senator Obama and was on a fundraising tour of California. It was the first fundraiser held by Pakistani Americans since Sen. Obama got nominated.
The elegant fundraiser was hosted at Hamid and Javeeda Malik’s home in Cowan Heights, CA. Hamid Malik and Anila Ali had been working on organizing a fundraiser for a few months with the fundraising manager, Michael Bridges. When Hamid Malik heard about Dr. Soetoro’s visit to Los Angeles, he decided to avail of the opportunity of fundraising for Sen.Obama.
“Our intention was to show our support to Senator Obama and to start mobilizing Pakistani-Americans to vote and register to vote if they haven’t already,” stated Hamid Malik.
The fundraiser began after a delicious array of appetizers was served after the anxiously awaited arrival of Sen. Obama’s sister, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng. She was enthusiastically greeted by the host committee and introduced to many members of the Pakistani-American community, which included prominent businessmen, physicians, and media.
Anila Ali began the formal proceedings by welcoming the distinguished guests, which also included Sen. Obama’s aunt and cousins from Los Angeles. Next she went on to introduce an eminent politician from Orange County, the Mayor of Huntington Beach, Debbie Cook who is running for the 46th Congressional District spanning from Costa Mesa to Palos Verdes. In her brief address to the gathering, she also expressed her support for Sen. Obama.
Next, Hamid Malik addressed the audience:
“History has already been made as we have the first African American Democratic Presidential candidate. If Martin Luther King would have been with us, he would have said, ‘I am on the way to fulfilling my dream.’ We can all read about the position of Obama about the various issues, but today Maya and I will talk about Obama the person and what is different about this campaign and this person.” With that he introduced the distinguished guest, Dr.Maya Soetoro-Ng.
“Maya Soetoro-Ng was born to Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian businessman, and Ann Dunham, an American cultural anthropologist, who is also Barack Obama's mother. Soetoro-Ng attended Punahou School and received her PhD in Education from the University of Hawai at Manoa in 2006.Soetoro-Ng is a high-school teacher at La Pietra: Hawaii School for Girls in Honolulu, Hawaii. She also instructs night classes at the University of Hawaii. In May 2007, it was announced that she would assist her half-brother Barack Obama in his campaign for president. She took two months off from her job to campaign for Obama. Soetoro-Ng married Konrad Ng (born in Canada), a Chinese Canadian professor at the University of Hawaii. They have one daughter, Suhaila”
With great honor, Mr. Malik asked her to the podium to address the eager audience. Dr. Soetoro expressed her gratitude to the organizers and thanked them for a wonderful evening. Then she pleasantly surprised the audience by telling them that she had lived in Lahore for six months in 1986 while she and her mother were working on a project in Gujrat. She even infused a few Urdu words in her speech to the delight of the audience. She told the listeners how she loved the beautiful city of Lahore, its people and the food. Undoubtedly these revelations were greeted with cheers and applause. She also talked about her brother’s firm belief in values, ethics, and love for this great country, America. She explained how their family values helped shape and influence Sen. Obama’s life. The speech was followed by a Q and A session. Dr.Mansoor Shah from Irvine, CA excellently moderated the session.
At the end of the event, Anila Ali, thanked Dr. Soetoro for a most informative speech about her family, especially her brother, Senator Obama. On a personal note, Anila told the audience about how she became an Obama supporter, “ I became an Obama supporter after reading the book, Dreams from my Father, in which a young Obama traveling through Pakistan en route to Kenya, makes such wise observations about Pakistan, Africa, and the world. His accounts show his insightfulness and great perception.”
The event ended with a lavish dinner and the guests rallied around Dr. Soetoro-Ng and Senator Obama’s cousins for casual conversations. Hamid Malik, Anila Ali, Salim Adaya, Dr.Mansoor Shah and many other guests assured Dr. Soetoro of the support of the Pakistani American community.
“Sen. Obama brings a message of change to the country and we must support it wholeheartedly,” said Mr. Malik.
“He is a phenomenal candidate and we must support him and this is only the beginning of our commitment to sending Senator Obama to the White House,” said Anila Ali.