Bay City News Service
The city of Santa Clara presented the Muslim community with a proclamation to commemorate the five-year anniversary of the California Assembly designation of August as American Muslim Appreciation and Awareness Month.
"Muslim Appreciation Month honors generations of Muslim Americans and their many social, cultural and economic contributions to our city, the state and all across the country," Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor said.
Gillmor presented the proclamation to Council on American Islamic Relations San Francisco Bay Area government relations coordinator Sameena Usman
"We are part of the Santa Clara family and we want to make sure that we assist and that we are helping those in need." Usman said. "We have a number of organizations in Santa Clara. We are very blessed in order to have them be contributing members to this community."
The city of Santa Clara proclamation highlights a number of recent contributions by the local Muslim community. Islamic Relief USA, a nonprofit, committed to distributing $5 million nationwide in COVID-19 assistance and its North West branch in Santa Clara teamed up with other local charities to distribute 50,000 lbs of food, masks, hygiene kits and hundreds of meals to at-risk communities in the Bay Area.
CAIR's Bay Area office also expanded its legal services in response to COVID-19 to provide support in housing issues, stimulus payments and unemployment benefits among many other services.
"We still see cases of discrimination and hate crimes that are effecting the Muslim community and to have this recognized every year is incredibly important," Usman said.
The Bay Area is home to one of the largest Muslim populations in the country at 3.5 percent, according to a Santa Clara University study. Twenty-seven percent of the Bay Area Muslim population lives in Santa Clara County.
The city is also home to one of the largest mosques in the nation, the Muslim Community Association, which regularly has congregational prayers with over 3,000 attendees, according to the proclamation.
Assemblymember Bill Quirk initially introduced the first "Muslim Appreciation and Awareness Month" in 2016 and will be reintroducing it this year with co-sponsors Assemblymembers Ash Kalra and Kansen Chu.