Mayor Steinberg honors Muslim-American aid groups in dinner at City Hall
Sacramento, CA - The evening of June 18 marked the second time Mayor Steinberg hosted leaders from the Muslim-American community for a dinner at City Hall. The celebration focused on the work of organizations that provide access to healthcare, mental health services, food and shelter, and resettlement support services. Our local Muslim community has long championed social justice and philanthropy. The full list of the organizations and families recognized at the dinner is listed below.
The Power of Community: Build for Unity
In the wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks, Rashid Ahmed wrote and distributed an e-mail that caught the attention of many Sacramento community leaders. In his letter, he addressed a growing concern on the minds of many individuals in Sacramento, particularly those of the Muslim faith. He made a plea for collective efforts that would foster interfaith communities in the face of senseless violence, stating that “We are not defined by the conditions we face. We are defined by how we respond.”
In response, community members rallied around this effort to promote stronger interfaith dialogue. In particular, Habitat for Humanity board member Jeff Von Kaenel proposed a plan of action to build unity amongst our diverse faith communities while building homes for some of the most vulnerable families in the region.
The Muslim community demonstrated an especially strong support for the project, as Fawzia Kevel, Sami Siddiqui, and Akram Keval, alongside Elena Ruiz, formerly of the Sacramento News & Review, and Leah Miller from Habitat for Humanity, ensured this vision could become a reality.
The first Build for Unity project brought together more than 180 local faith communities and individuals to raise $176,000 required to build the first two homes. Over 18 months, 1,000 volunteers from all different faiths contributed 10,000 hours of labor alongside the Habitat families. The first two homes were dedicated on June 22nd, 2017 with Jewish, Catholic, Muslim and Lutheran prayers, as well as a Ramadan dinner.
The Unity Build demonstrates our commitment to building hope and unity amongst our faith communities. Planning and fundraising for Build for Unity 2018 is currently underway, and we are proud that this project is now being replicated in over a dozen other U.S. cities and Habitat for Humanity affiliates.
Honored to Recognize
Ar-Razzaq Food Bank has served members of our most vulnerable populations since 2009. Ar-Razzaq Food Bank aspires to fill in the gaps within both the local Muslim community and in the greater Sacramento population. Powered by volunteers, Ar-Razzaq is financed from donations by Sacramento-area Muslims who are inspired by the mission of Ar-Razzaq of giving back to the Sacramento community. Their dedicated support of immigrants, refugees, and other disadvantaged individuals and families through food distribution provides a great benefit to our region.
Shifa Community Clinic, in partnership with UC Davis Medical Center and the Muslim Mosque Association, has supported thousands of individuals and families in our community by providing free medical services and better access to healthcare over ten languages. To best address the diverse needs of patients, their expanded services include: legal aid, mental health/peer counseling, dental clinic, dermatology clinic, primary care, women's health, chronic care, cancer screening, prescription assistance program, and general health education.
Refugee Enrichment & Development Association (REDA) has supported the newest members of our community by providing and connecting refugees to a myriad of social services during an unimaginable transition as they adjust to life in the United States. REDA also connects refugee families with community resources, such as housing, social services, employment, and transportation. REDA is continuously working to improve and develop innovative programs that would help the refugee families achieve their dream of having a peaceful life.
Muslim American Society-Social Services Foundation (MAS-SSF) is a non-profit providing social services and referrals to all communities with a focus on the Muslim community for over 10 years. MAS-SSF has recruited and trained 24 peer counselors to meet the needs of the diverse community of Sacramento, which includes a high influx of refugees. The services are provided in over 10 languages, including English, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Dari, Farsi and Pashto, and are available for individuals, couples, families, and youth.
Honored To Recognize
The Mohanna Family is recognized for their continued support of non-profit organizations that offer critical services to homeless individuals in Sacramento through the Mohanna Foundation. Moe Mohanna has been an advocate and sponsor of Loaves and Fishes, Family Promise, SafeHaven Ministries, and C.E.P.S. Money Management which are all non-profits housed in his facilities. He has molded each of his new ventures to benefit the community and promote the well-being of humanity through volunteerism and entrepreneurship. The Mohanna Foundation’s work has become a symbol of volunteerism and philanthropy, a voice for the voiceless and hope for the hopeless.
The Sharif Family is recogonized for their commitment to philanthropy. Sharif Fine Jewelers has weaved itself into the fabric of the local community and strongly believes in supporting both local and national organizations that benefit the Sacramento Community as a whole. Over the years the Sharif Family has supported many organizations with monetary and jewelry donations, including the Firefighters Burn Institute, Sacramento Food Bank, UC Davis, CSUS, Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, TLCS, Cristo Rey HS, and Closing the Gap.
The Rahimian Family is recognized for their commitment to the Sacramento region through their business acumen and philanthropy. Their dedication is demonstrated through their service on the boards of the UC Davis Foundation, Shifa Community Clinic, and the Sacramento Public Library Foundation, as well as their support for the Iranian and Middle Eastern Studies Center (IMESC) Program and Engineering Department at Sacramento State.
Kais Menoufy is recognized for his dedication to philanthropy and empowering youth in our community. He has supported hundreds of community activities and pioneered initiatives such as Building Bridges, Youth for a Better Understanding, and Closing the Gap. He is passionate about creating opportunities for collaboration in education, technology, science, agriculture, and law & policy. Kais served on the Board of Directors for the American Leadership Forum, Capital Unity Council, Shifa Clinic, and the UC Davis Int. Programs Executive Development Council.