Posted February 27, 2015 by NAAP-NY
Celebrating 13 Years of Collective Advancement in NY
Last Saturday night a snowstorm rolled into the Tri-state area, but if you were in the Trianon Ballroom of the Midtown Hilton you wouldn't have guessed it! Our Arab-American community came out in droves for an elegant & empowering evening to celebrate the 13th Anniversary NAAP-NY Banquet!
During our reception, guests browsed our silent auction items and some went home with big wins. Tickets to the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, original Islamic art, and fine jewelry were some of the items up for grabs.
Once the dinner began our Emcee Ahmed Shihab-Eldin - the impressive young journalist led us through the night while entertaining and sharing his personal, professional stories.
Samia Zaky Beck, longtime NAAP-NY board member, was the first speaker of the night. She recapped the stellar year the organization has had while highlighting key priorities in the coming one and emphasizing that the night, while a celebration, was also a fundraiser as community donations help drive NAAP forward.
Omar Abboud, recipient of the Student Activism Award came up next. We were all touched and impacted by his eloquent speech as he discussed the challenges facing students on campus today - a reminder of how important our goal to "support the Arab student movement in the US" is today.
Our special guest, Bassem Youssef was up next. In true Bassem fashion he kept the crowd laughing while promoting his upcoming documentary on satire & free speech in the Middle East, Tickling Giants.
The highlight of the night came when Ayman Mohyeldin took the stage. He highlighted the challenges of covering difficult topics as an Arab-American and it was enlightening to hear him share his stories as working in the US media.
The camaraderie between Ahmed, Bassem, and Ayman was entertaining and they definitely became the "cool kids" at the party as they were swarmed by attendees wanting pictures.
A gathering like ours at this time would have been incomplete without a moment of silence for the victims of the recent hate crimes committed in North Carolina and Alberta, CA. Sarab Al-Jijakli, president of NAAP, spoke passionately about the beautiful souls we lost - Mustafa Mattan, Deah Barakat, Yusor & Razan Abu-Salha - and the necessity to confront "acceptable bigotry" in American that foster an atmosphere of hate. He encouraged our community to rise up in support of their families and justice and reminded us that of we ever feel victimized our NAAP-NY family will always come to our aid.
The touching and inspiring dinner was followed by pictures, the raffle draw and lots of dancing. Our 13th anniversary in this community was celebrated in the true spirit of our banquet's theme: Collective Advancement. In addition to hundreds from the Tri-state area, there were also guests from DC and Philly.
Its nice to be reminded that we have such a such a supportive, impressive and successful community in the area. We hope to see you at our many more events in the coming year!
- Sara El-Behiri
NAAP-NY Board member
For pictures of the Banquet please visit below: