© Photo

Lila Aryan Photography for the Wisconsin Muslim Journal

The Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition held its ninth annual gala on Saturday, December 7th. The annual fundraiser, held at downtown Milwaukee’s Bradley Pavilion, was attended by 350 guests, including local luminaries and political leaders. The evening’s theme was “Our Voice Matters.”

“For a Muslim, working to promote understanding and the cause of social justice is not an option, it is an injunction. We work tirelessly to build coalitions and attract allies,” Janan Najeeb, MMWC’s president, told the audience. “And we are very successful at what we do. You can be a part of the success and the blessings that come with this work. If you don’t have the time, you can partner with your financial support, your time, and your prayers.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore, one of the speakers, reminded attendees that the event was a “fundraiser, not a fun-raiser.” Moore called out one of 2019’s significant accomplishments for MMWC, the establishment of Our Peaceful Home, the first-ever culturally-specific domestic violence program for the Muslim community in Wisconsin. “When mama ain’t alright, nobody’s alright,” said Moore, who is known for her direct speaking style.

CBS 58 anchor Amanda Porterfield hosted the event. Marcus Center CEO Paul Matthews, who is retiring at the end of this year, kicked off the evening by reminding attendees of the importance of their vote and affirming the partnership between MMWC and the Marcus Center.

Besides Moore, guest speakers included Sharon Lewandowski, the domestic abuse coordinator for DCFS, which provides funding for Our Peaceful Home; Wanis Shalaby, principal of Salam School; Kristin Hansen, executive director of the Wisconsin Muslim Civic Alliance, another offshoot begun by MMWC this year to promote voting and civic participation; Geraud Blanks from Milwaukee Film; and Maysem Abubaker, a Salam School sixth grader and participant in the summer reading and activity program at IRC.

Two organizations, the ASHA Project and UMOS Latina Resource Center, received the Together We Can award. Shawn Muhammad accepted for the ASHA Project. Mariana Rodriguez, the executive director of UMOS Latina Resource Center, accepted the award for that organization.

The Latino Arts Strings Program provided after-dinner entertainment.