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NAJEE’S NOTES: L.A. to observe Muslim Heritage Month

The Los Angeles City Council adopted a resolution recognizing the contributions and activism of the Muslim American community and declared July 2019 as Muslim Heritage Month.

City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell introduced the resolution, citing the celebration of Muslim Heritage will “promote and encourage awareness of significant contributions made by the city’s Muslim population in culture, social services, education, politics, business, technology and the arts.”

An estimated 500,000 American Muslims reside in the Greater Los Angeles area. The City Council began recognizing its Muslim population in 2014 after the South Los Angeles-based civil right group Project Islamic HOPE, spearheaded the effort.

O’Farrell honored Debra Hassan of the Center for Advanced Learning Public Charter School, Donald Bakeer of Project Islamic HOPE and Jarin Islam of Giving Help for their significant contributions to the Muslim community in Los Angeles through charitable contributions, social activism and aiding Muslims throughout the city.

The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) co-sponsored a VIP reception and participated in the adoption of the resolution before the City Council.

“At a time when we feel the normalization of hatred in our country, we have witnessed a growing number of hate incidences, hate rhetoric targeting various minorities from migrants to workers to religious and racial minorities, it is extremely important for us to recognize the beautiful diversity of our cities and our country,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. “It’s beautiful to see that this heritage is being recognized. I remind myself that it is more than recognizing that diversity, but working on establishing it, strengthening it and working on preserving this harmony and justice.”

Congratulations to all the honorees and a special thank you to Councilman O’Farrell and his assistant William Ayala for their hard work and dedication on making this presentation for the city’s Muslim community.

I had the opportunity to speak to Darryn Harris, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, who informed me that Bass, who is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and a member of the  House Judiciary Subcommittee will be meeting with her congressional colleagues on July 13. There will be a Congressional hearing held in the heart of Los Angeles about criminal justice reform.

Our community will hear from selected witnesses regarding strategies to reduce recidivism rates and lessons from California’s criminal justice reforms that we can take to the federal level.

The meeting location is South Central Los Angeles Regional Center, 2500 S. Western Ave. For more information, call Bass’ office at (323) 965-1422.

And finally. keep our brother Stevie Wonder in your prayers. The last time I was with him was on May 4t at the Obama street dedication ceremony and he complained to me that he wasn’t feeling good. I helped him to his car with his driver. I had no idea at the time his health challenges were that serious. I will discuss more on this next week. Have a safe and happy holiday.

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