Last night, we welcomed over 225 guests to the Center for our first World Hijab Day program! This event was a collaboration between the ICSC, New Horizon School LA, and MUNA youth group. The Center was full of smiles, felt warm with community, and everyone had a lot of fun. Alhamdulillah. Thank you to to our staff, our planning committee, all of our volunteers, and everyone who made it all possible! (click here to see pictures)
As people entered the building for World Hijab Day, they were welcomed by one of our volunteers and signed-in at the front table. We had paper programs outlining the evening and handed out one free raffle ticket to every child for a chance to win the big prize of the night – an Ibtihaj Muhammad Barbie doll. Additional tickets were sold for $1. We wanted to make sure that this was a family friendly event, so a Kids Zone was set up in the Social Hall for children 3 – 10 years old, and New Horizon provided teachers and volunteers to oversee arts & crafts for the kids.
We started our evening by praying Isha together before transitioning into the main program. I was the emcee – I welcomed our guests, made announcements and gave an overview of the event. Next, four New Horizon students recited Surat al-Fatiha for our opening recitation and then MUNA youth group gave a short presentation. Dr. Najeeba Syeed graciously accepted our invitation as guest speaker. She was interactive with the audience and centered her conversation around three main ideas – 1) Courage: to do what you believe in, 2) Confidence: to see your value and be authentically yourself – whatever that means to you, and 3) Community: to support each other in our journeys by listening and being there in ways that are helpful and meaningful to that person. The crowd seemed to really like her and stayed engaged until the very end.
Once the formal program was over, almost everyone stuck around to socialize, try on hijabs, take pictures in our photo booth, and grab some snacks. We handed out 200 snack boxes that were prepared and generously donated by MUNA. Finally, we got to the raffle drawing for our coveted grand prize of the night. After selecting two tickets that went unclaimed, we finally had our winner – Amani, a 2nd grade student at NHSLA. When her name was called, she was surrounded by classmates who congratulated her with cheers and hugs.
Our World Hijab Day program was a really beautiful evening of celebrating our girls & women. It was inclusive, interactive, inspirational, and rooted in our own personal experiences with hijab. Overall, it was a really great example of how we can bring our people together by harnessing the talents and contributions that exist within our own community. Alhamdulillah.