On October 28, Highlands Community Charter School supported the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a sponsor of the 15th Annual CAIR Sacramento Valley Banquet. This event drew over 1,000 people this year and is meant to honor and support efforts to defend Muslim civil rights and increase understanding in our community. Several local dignitaries and civil rights leaders were in attendance as well, and spoke at the event.
Shabana Rahimi, a paraeducator at St. Matthews, said she felt grateful to meet these community members.
“It was so interesting to meet people from different countries and different organizations, and talk to them about what they do in the community, and share with them about our school,” she said.
The Sacramento Valley chapter of CAIR was established in 2003 as a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization with the primary goal of defending civil liberties, empowering the community, educating the public about Islam and Muslims, and increasing interfaith understanding for a more a pluralistic society.
This event represents one of the largest gatherings of the Sacramento Valley Muslim community and was attended by over 50 Highlands students – alongside one board member and several staff. The banquet is known for being a cross-cultural and interfaith event where relationships are strengthened and celebrated.
Mohammad Zahir Khan, who attends class at the St. Matthews site remembers the unity he felt that night.
“It was very good, interesting, and beneficial for us. There were a lot of good and smart people – Muslims and other religions,” he said. “The important thing was, all people were equal and loved each other there.”
Catering was provided by Medi-Fresh, and tables for Highlands students were donated by Highlands’ Executive Director Murdock Smith and CAIR Director Basim Elkarra.