CAIR-LA’s 21st Annual Banquet Gets Huge Community Response
On Saturday, November 18th, more than 2,000 people turned out for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Greater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA) 21st Annual Banquet. The event helped raise nearly $580,000 of the $650,000 fundraising goal in support of CAIR-LA.
Themed "Living Our Faith: Defending Freedom" this year's banquet featured Dr Jonathan A.C. Brown, an American scholar of Islamic Studies from Georgetown University, as well as RoulaAllouch, the CAIR National Board Chair.
Besides, ImamSirajWahhaj, an anti-drug activist and the spiritual leader of At-Taqwa Mosque in New York, gave an address to the banquet attendees drawing parallels between the African American community's struggles and the Muslim community's struggles in the US.
Mohamed Bzeek was awarded the Champion of Compassion award for his work supporting terminally ill children in Los Angeles County. Bzeek is the only known foster parent in the county who takes in terminally ill children. His work has recently gained international attention and praise.
The late Taliesin MyrddinNamkai-Meche was honored with the Champion of Justice award. Earlier this year Namkai-Meche stood up to a white supremacist who had been threatening two young women with racial and Islamophobic slurs. Namkai-Meche was stabbed by the man when he tried to defend the women, and thus sacrificed his life standing up for justice. Namkai-Meche's award was accepted on behalf of his mother, Asha Deliverance, a peace and love activist.
Various public officials sent their greetings and congratulations in honor of the CAIR-LA 21st Annual Banquet including Senator Kamala D. Harris, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congressman Tony Cardenas, and many more.
The Executive Director of CAIR-LA, HussamAyloush, presented remarks on the past year's events, summarizing CAIR-LA's accomplishments and emphasizing its mission moving forward.
Ayloush stated in his closing remarks: "CAIR will continue to fight for our rights, defend the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution, and confront the growing atmosphere of Islamophobia in our state and country. Remember, our community is only as strong as its organizations. And our organizations are only as strong as our investment in them. I hope that CAIR-LA can continue to count on you."
Besides these esteemed speakers, a number of city and state officials were present, as well as interfaith leaders, and imams and representatives from almost all of the Southern California Islamic Centers and mosques.