Malcolm X’s Daughter Lends a Helping Hand at Sacramento Event
By Ras H. Siddiqui

Helping Hand USA For Relief and Development held a Grand Banquet fundraising event in Sacramento, California on Friday March 23rd, 2012 at the SALAM Community Center hall. The event also shed some light on how Interest-Free Microfinance is working in countries like Pakistan. Helping Hand is one organization which has been at the forefront of aiding both earthquake and flood victims in South Asia and is now branching out to help people in Somalia. 

The keynote speaker at this event was Attallah Shabazz , the daughter of late El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, also known as Malcolm X, one of the most visible and vocal Black Muslim activists in our history.

The program itself was planned well in advance but had a late setback due to the death of one of the Sacramento Muslim community’s most respected seniors the same week as many people had to change their plans to go to the Downtown V Street mosque instead, to grieve with the family at the same time. But those that attended this fundraiser or showed up late (or had to leave early like this scribe) were in for a treat as Attallah educated the gathering with her words of confidence and inspiration.

Starting off with Asalaam Alaikum, Attallah Shabazz journeyed through various aspects of our collective existence here in America and the challenges that it provides all, especially but not exclusively for  Muslims. She called herself a social philanthropist more than anything else. On her introduction she was I believe a little too modest because she has also been a director of theatrical productions, producer, actress, artist, lecturer and educator.  She said that she may have been eligible for food stamps at some point in her life but that did not determine her true value. She elaborated on the subject of the Black experience and the double challenge of being both Black and Muslim in today’s world.

 Attallah also went into the experience of growing up in the Shabazz household, growing up as the daughter of Betty El-Shabazz and Malcolm X. She said that her father used to say that the greatest tool of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. She indicated that the acceptance of oppression was not an option. She added that her father also believed in pursuing education and he said that education is our passport to the future for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today. She added that everyone has something to offer and that love creates patience and that patience creates unity.

Hafiz Amjad Saeed from Helping Hand in Atlanta gave a detailed background of how microfinance is working today amongst the flood-hit people in Pakistan. He added that the program was actually started in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake there and that internally displaced persons have also benefited from it. He added that repayment is almost 100% there. He said that Helping Hand is now taking the effort to Somalia.

Another added attraction was the performance of Nasheed (Naat in Urdu) singers from the UK. And on the fundraising, one hopes that the next time Helping Hand comes to Sacramento more people will be able to participate in its efforts. This time was an exception due to the fact that the other hurriedly planned event was also very important to our local community.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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