Dear CAIR-Chicago Supporters,
On behalf of our chairman, Dr. Mazen Kudaimi, the board of directors, staff, and volunteers, we wish to thank you for making our 8th Annual Banquet a memorable and enjoyable evening! The event that was reported on by over 40 news outlets via the AP as well as WBEZ and ABC. Board member Dr. Hesham Hassaballa blogged about it in Chicago Now.
(Photos are courtesy of professional and talented photographers: Tahany Yassin, Zahawa Saleh, Zubair Ali, and Leena Saleh)
1252 people were in attendance, underscoring the broad support CAIR-Chicago continues to receive by the grace of the Almighty.
What’s even more telling than the large number of guests was the diversity of the audience that came from all across Chicagoland and the tri-state area, in terms of ethnicity, age, gender, and profession. We were grateful to see every Mosque and every Chicago Muslim organization with significant representation.
We are also thankful for the tremendous support of our key partners including CIOGC, JCUA, ICIRR, Niagara Foundation, and RefugeeOne as well as our official sponsors, Zakat Foundation and Turkish Airlines and 40 other sponsors.
We are grateful to Sh. Kifah Mustafa, of the Mosque Foundation, for fundraising. He has been our fundraiser every year and always delivers inspiring words that move the community. This year, he was the much deserved recipient of our Mobilizer Award for his tireless work supporting civil rights. We are grateful to you for responding with your generosity.
While we fell short of our $300,000 goal, we understand the challenges this difficult year brought. We raised $235,000. It was touching to see the names and organizations on our pledge list – those who never falter in heeding the call even in tough times. (Help us meet our goal by donating online today).
This was a special year in terms of Speakers. Chicago Police Superintendent McCarthy delivered on his promise to us by publicly pledging to uphold “criminal leads” rather than “blanket suspicions” and respecting civil rights, a historic moment that is the result of our community’s great advocacy. Our beloved Professor John Esposito and Congressman Luis Gutierrez, speaking to the community for the first time, delivered powerful and moving words, standing up for the ideals of religious pluralism, tolerance, equal rights, and mutual understanding – ideals that CAIR-Chicago continuously strives to live up to in our daily work.
We wish to thank our other Award recipients, Edina Lekovic and Salahuddin Khan as well as our Master of Ceremonies, Laith Saud, for their poignant remarks and their great contributions to a future without bigotry. We are grateful to Yaser Tabbara, who has spent the last year working tirelessly to help save Syrian lives, for taking a weekend out of his noble mission to be with us, underscoring his undying commitment for the cause of American Muslim civil rights.
We wish to thank the 44 public officials who sent us letters of support this year, and the dozens who attended our banquet.
This year’s banquet was presided over by a whopping 100 staff and volunteers! We wish to thank the amazing volunteers who worked incredibly hard to present the community with an evening befitting of its stature.
Lastly, we wish to thank you all once again. Our work could not succeed without your support. You came in large numbers and showed why Chicago’s Muslims are a proud, strong, united community.
Thanks to you, we are now ready to begin another phase of our work. Our promise to you is that you will continue to see concrete results that further raise the bar, as well as a few surprises we are sure you will like. Please stay tuned to our website: www.cairchicago.org.
– The CAIR-Chicago Team
Photography by Tahany Yassin, Zahawa Saleh, Zubair Ali, Leena Saleh