Above: a previous Ramadan Unity Dinner
This Friday, October 14th, Lansing and East Lansing residents are invited to attend the Annual Ramadan Unity Dinner. The theme of this year’s dinner is “United in Hope – Against Hunger!”
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows will speak at the event, and among those expected to attend are the Honorable Mohammed Hameeduddin, first Muslim mayor of the Township of Teaneck, New Jersey; the HUMANITY Dance Production; Greater Lansing Food Bank Executive Director Joe Wald; and a special guest speaker. In addition to the dinner on Friday night, the Ramadan events include a day of service, and an Essay Scholarship contest.
While serving the hungry is certainly a tradition of Ramadan, this event is a chance for community members of all faiths to come together in celebration and solidarity towards this common goal. “It’s important to me because it demonstrates a commitment among Lansing and East Lansing to eradicate the plight of hunger in various communities,” says Terrance Range, 3rd year PHD Student at MSU. Range is one of the winners of the Mayor's’ Ramadan Unity Dinner Essay Scholarship. “[This event] allows members from the community, of all different faiths, to gather in solidarity to observe Ramadan and bring awareness to a critical issue.”
Essay Contestants in the 2016 Ramadan Unity Dinner Essay Contest were asked to describe how hunger impacts the community and how the community can unite to solve it.
Adam Pfau won $500 for his first place essay in the college division, with Joyce-Zoe Farley taking a $250 prize for second place and Terrance Range taking $150 for third place. The contest winners are all students at MSU. In the high school division, Eastern High School’s Aaba Mohamed-Saleh took first place ($300), Waverly High School’s Marciela Tapia came in second ($200) and East Lansing High School’s Eaman Ali took third place ($100).
“These local students really demonstrate what it means to be united as a community and the City of Lansing is proud to support these promising students with a scholarship,” said Lansing Mayor’s Office Manager Renee Morgan Freeman. “Ramadan is a time for reflection and service, so we are happy to see people of all faiths embodying these tenets.”
“Embracing the Muslim culture is paramount for communities to thrive and understand different perspectives,” says Range. “It also expands and challenges our understanding around Muslim culture and helps us appreciate the vibrant diversity within the Muslim community.”
The Ramadan Unity Dinner aims to express the rich cultural diversity of the Lansing Area and the shared promise of its community members to serve those who are hungry.
In accordance with the commitment to eradicate hunger, volunteers will help distribute food from the Greater Lansing Food Bank this Saturday, October 15th. Volunteers will distribute produce, protein and dry goods to clients as well as deliver food to senior citizens. Proceeds from the 2016 dinner will be directed toward the essay scholarship fund and to the Greater Lansing Food Bank.
Tickets for the Ramadan Unity Dinner are $15 per student, $25 per individual, and $80 per family of four.
Additional information about the event can be found here.