By Najee Ali
Ramadan, which is the holy month for more than one billion members of the Muslim community worldwide, is currently underway.
In South Los Angeles, which is home to several Islamic centers and Muslim organizations that continue to serve the community regardless of race, Ramadan is not just a month of fasting but spiritual growth, reflection, charity and service.
One such organization, based in Anaheim and now serving South L.A., is the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR). It continues to be on the front lines during the greatest crisis of our lifetime as we collectively fight COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, the deadly virus which currently has a death toll of more than 60,000 Americans and 1,000 Los Angeles County residents.
Hussam Ayloush has been the executive director of CAIR LA since 1998. CAIR the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs pertaining to American Muslims.
He has consistently appeared in local, national and international media advocating and articulating the mainstream Muslim position on various issues. His leadership in the community has been invaluable.
As someone who has known Ayloush for more than 20 years, I’ve seen him grow and evolve and make true inroads into South L.A. where CAIR-LA organizers are in the trenches providing leadership and service to those that need it most.
CAIR-LA is a founding member of the coronavirus community response system of South L.A., a broad-based coalition of key community-based organizations, faith-based institutions and stakeholders that address the current community needs associated with the coronavirus and beyond.
CAIR-LA organizers have also participated in helping feed hundreds of needy, homeless, seniors and disabled residents of South L.A. on a weekly basis with Community Build and its CEO Robert Sausedo the lead agency responsible for the food giveaway.
CAIR-LA continues to represent the best of Islam in its activism and fight for social justice. I know because I’ve been on these frontlines for over 25 years in South L.A and have seen many an activist group come and go. CAIR-LA is now firmly entrenched in South L.A. giving our community one more important tool in our woodshed to help improve the quality of life.
Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day continues to be on the frontlines of service as well. He is continuing his support of local medical professionals and their around-the-clock COVID-19 relief efforts by providing more meals to our local frontline medical heroes.
Joseph-Day recently hosted a DJ session on Instagram Live to raise nearly $5,000 to benefit local health care providers. In partnership with Superfine Pizza and Chef Steve Samson, Joseph-Day also provided pizzas for employees at an Inglewood hospital April 28.
On April 16, he donated $10,000 to Rossoblu’s Restaurant Relief to fund prepared meals for Cedars-Sinai medical staff. Pizza deliveries also will take place May 1 and 2 with Joseph-Day and Chef Samson serving the medical personnel who are on the frontlines fighting this pandemic.
I want too personally thank Joseph-Day, along with the real heroes which includes not just medical personnel but all essential workers and first responders. This virus will be defeated. I don’t know when. But I know until it is, we must keep pulling for and serving each other.
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