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tv   [untitled]    January 5, 2011 12:00am-12:30am PDT

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[please stand by] [please stand by]
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u >> good evening, everybody. my name is michael farrah. i'm the senior advisor to mayor newsom, and i want to welcome you all to city hall to celebrate the second -- what will hopefully be forever -- arab heritage month celebration at city hall, so thank you all for coming. [applause] as you probably know, tonight is a difficult night for many people. the world series is going on,
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and i'm here to report to you aid is 0-0 so far, in the second inning. we will have it on during the reception. before we get started, i wanted to recognize and bring up two elected officials to speak briefly, supervisors avalos and mayor, who have always stood with the community -- supervisors avalos and mirkarimi, who have always stood with the community. they have consistently had their offices open when we had an issue. they're being here means a lot to us -- their being here means a lot to us. now more than ever, we need to be friends with government, and knowing their door is open to us is appreciated. [applause] supervisor mirkarimi: good evening. i'm ross mirkarimi. i represent the fifth district, and i'm delighted to be standing up here with my colleague who
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will speak in a moment. i want to thank mike farrah for his leadership and mayor newsom for helping facilitate this gathering. i'm iranian american, persians, and throughout my -- [applause] throughout my life, my family had always had very close relationships with the arab and arab-american community. i spent a fair amount of time working in the middle east in jordan and iraq and traveling through loud the milk -- throughout the middle eastern areas, so i feel very much at home, and it is important that feeling is well represented in city hall. i look at the flags that are well illustrated year. it amplifies the need that much more that san franciscans, californians should understand and become more acquainted with the arab-american culture. if the census proves me right, when the numbers come out next year officially, we will see a
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significant growth of the arab- american population in the san francisco bay area but also throughout the state of california. that is critical because it means that much more that arab- americans have the right and the reason to want to make sure that their interests are being well represented in local government and city government, and, of course, in federal government. i continue to look forward to working with everyone here. thank you for the contribution you make to making our city one of the most majestic on this planet. have a great festival. thank you. [applause] supervisor avalos: good evening. i represent district 11 in san francisco, and as i became a candidate for supervisor and had been supervisor, i got to realize and learn more about the contributions of the arab- american community here in san francisco and the bay area. it is profound.
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i also got to really understand the link between the bay area and the middle east and how the conflict there affects us here locally as well, and we all live with this and strive for a world with peace, and part of that is a real understanding about the cultures of this world. we need to have a greater understanding and appreciation of the arab-american culture, the arab culture in the united states and in san francisco as well. this celebration is an important part of that work we have ahead of us together. i want to always say that my office is always open to hear from members of the community and to be invited to events in the community as well. i look forward to a partnership that lasts many years, and that we will all live together in a peaceful world. thank you. [applause] >> we as a community have had
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really an amazing year, from the hearings about the flotilla at the board of supervisors to the hearings at the human rights commission about racial profiling. it has been a profound year for us, and it has raised a tremendous amount of awareness, not only in city hall, but in northern california and the nation about the issues we face as a community, but it has not just been those issues we have faced. we also had what i think is probably the most successful festival we have had in a long time with the arab cultural center, and each year, the film festival gets better and better. it continues to tell the story of our community and change people's minds based on our -- on art. it is with that pleasure that i bring of our awardee for this year's arab heritage month certificate. michel, could you come up real quick?
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[applause] his work every year really changes people's hearts and minds. if you could just speak for a few minutes about the festival and the success you faced this year. here is the award for this year's fair of heritage month. thank you. [applause] -- this year's arab heritage month. thank you. [applause] >> find the executive director of the arab festival. -- i'm the executive director. will i accept this proclamation on behalf of the arab-american community in sentences go with deep gratitude and affection -- the arab-american community in san francisco with deep gratitude and affection. allow me to thank our mayor, gavin newsom, for establishing
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arab heritage month, which will always be proudly remembered by our community and future generations. [applause] our thanks and appreciation also goes to mike farrah, a community member, leader, and representatives who worked diligently to make this a reality for our community. lastly shadi elkarra, who tirelessly put the details for this event together to make it materialize on the ground. thank you for your dedication to our community. most of all, i would like to thank each and every one of you for being here to support this important occasion. this is an occasion that should become the space and base where the community comes together to
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address all our differences, whether real or perceived. the job of making our communities solid, relevant, prosperous comes from each one of us where we can make us successful individuals. one successful community, one voice, to proudly served our community's higher interest to collectively served our city and our country. arab-americans are not the other. our community is not to be feared. our community is to be relied on. it is a rich community in culture and talent and heritage. we are the defendants of people who build great cities like casa blogging, baghdad, cairo, jerusalem, damascus -- casa blanca. we are the people of the world who have given the world great profits and religions. -- great prophets and religions.
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thank you. [applause] >> every year that i have been in city hall, i have tried to take an intern from the community and try to teach them the ways of politics to make sure we have leadership that keeps coming, so eventually, we have candidates for office. like when a friend on the school board. is she here? -- like winifred on the school board. a couple of years back, i was wise enough to bring on an intern that has made all the difference for our community, especially with arab heritage month. he worked so hard for last year's event and has made this year a success. we were really concerned about timing, and we were not sure he
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would get to it, and shadi came to me and said that we had to do it, had to continue the tradition. without his work, this never would have happened. shadi, can i introduce you and have you say a few words? >> thank you, everyone, for being here. i apologize about the delay, but it would not be an arab even if it started on time. thank you for coming to the 2nd annual arab heritage month celebration. there is a lot going on in the city. the giants are in the world series, it is game two, and you guys are here. but we do have a tv set up in the reception room. i want to thank supervisors mirkarimi and avalos, from day one -- i remember meeting ross years ago in district 5, and he was one of the only people that came out to the arab cultural festival. he had a table, and nobody would have known then that he would be
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one of our community of's strongest allies. and supervisor avalos, who has truly been there for our community. once i told him that i would love for them to come, they did not hesitate. can we give them a round of applause for being here tonight? [applause] like mike said, we were not sure if we were going to do it this year. there was a lot of things going on during the month of october, especially during the city, but i felt it was very important, not for us personally, but for the sake of the community. last year, we had an inaugural celebration, which was crucial and very historic in san francisco, so we owe it to the community to continue this event because this is your city hall and our city hall, and the arab community is the dynamic community that has been here for generations and has contributed
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significantly to the vitality of this city. like michael said, giving the award to the arab film festival -- it is the premier arab film festival in the nation. for over 15 years, they have been portraying films that do not only represent our rich heritage but kind of dispel myths and stereotypes of the arab people, who they are, and giving these films an audience that would not usually see them. even though it is through the art and fun, it is a powerful and strong message, and i urge you all to support the arab film festival because they do so much work for our community, and we do not really realize that. we have a fun program for you guys tonight. first of all, like i said, asserting our narrative as arab- americans is very important. through our historic legacy, we have had poetry being a crucial
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and historic part of our culture. old tradition is a very important part of arab culture, so we will be starting with two pieces from two arab-american women that are students at uc- berkeley. the creme de la creme. they are both brilliant individuals. they will do a co-written peace -- piece, so i'm going to hand it to them. thank you. [applause] >> is this working? ok.
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we are students at the university of california berkeley, and we would like to share some poetry with you guys. [speaking foreign language] we circled the dark path was slow, deliberate steps eyes fixed in pain, confusion, and grief we are the ambling madmen we are grievants an insanity we are fragments of broken people >> this is a funeral hymn we sing about our mothers history is lost the struggles of our fathers >> i can sit in the aromas of my past four days in the morning coffee stains my consciousness