MALA's Gala Recognized Storytellers and Leaders
On November 6, 2018, MALA recognized a number of "Muslim American Journeys" storytellers at its Third Annual Gala.
Narimon, a Chicago based Iranian-American entrepreneur who is also a contributor and analyst for the radio program Worldview on WBEZ (Chicago Public Media), received MALA’s first annual Community Builder Award for Cultural Leadership. This Award recognizes his outstanding work in bridging the worlds of entrepreneurship, the arts, and current affairs, and, “in doing so, building a community of talent and passion.” Listen to Narimon’s StoryCorps interview, “To Chicago, from Tehran,” here.
Isra, a young Somali-American who has played a dynamic role in MALA’s growth, received MALA’s Emerging Leader Award for her outstanding contribution to the Muslim community in Chicago and her commitment to volunteer service. Listen to Isra’s StoryCorps interview, “Reconnecting with My Faith,” here.
Chicago powerhouse and long-time MALA friend Logan received the MALA Community Builders Award for Philanthropy for his “commitment to inclusion, creativity, and human connection as solutions to society’s modern challenges.” Michael of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and cofounder of the Chicago Leadership Alliance, received MALA’s first annual Community Builder Award for Leadership. This was recognition for Michael’s outstanding work in building and mentoring leaders across Chicago: “in the process of fostering positive, values-driven, pluralistic leadership, you have built bridges that have allowed for the respectful exchange of ideas.” He also led a session for MALA’s Young Leaders at their retreat, held the day before the gala. Read Michael’s StoryCorps interview, “Global Connectivity Begins At Home” here.
Rasheed received the MALA Community Builder Award for Journalism. Rasheed is the publisher of the Yemeni American Net website and The Yemeni American News, which was launched in 2008. The newspaper and website both publish news, research, and studies that are related to the Yemeni American and the Arab American communities in both the English and Arabic languages, and highlight stories about successful Yemeni Americans.
Finally, MALA’s first annual MALA Human Rights Storytellers Award went to Mariya, a long-time gender violence activist. Taher has facilitated a powerful series of videos that allow survivors of Female Gential Cutting (FGC) to share their stories on their own terms. MALA looks forward to hosting screenings of these stories in 2019 through our "Muslim American Journeys" project.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent a congratulatory letter to MALA on the occasion of this Gala. He wrote: “MALA has emerged as one of our most innovative civic and community organizations whose involved programming focuses on meeting the needs and sharing the narratives of Muslin Americans.” Read the Mayor’s full letter here.