From Fear to Friendship - Fostering friendships among all Americans
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
American Muslim Voice Foundation, Dave Cortese President, Board of Supervisors and Santa Clara County Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice sponsored Multifaith Peace Picnic & Prayer Service on September 11, 2017 to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The event, held outside the Palo Alto City Hall, was attended by about 250 people from all walks of life, despite unexpected thunder and rain.
The commemoration, co-sponsored by more than 20 organizations and individuals, included Multifath prayers for peace and a special program by the American Muslim Voice.
The highlight of the program was a personal heartwarming story by Antonio Aversano, the son of Louis F. Aversano, Jr., who was killed at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11th, 2001.
Feeling “broken open” by that life changing experience, Antonio found hope and inspiration in joining September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, deeply resonating with their simple mission of “turning our grief into actions for peace.”
Color guard & flag posting by Troop 499 of Silicone Valley Monterey Bay Council was another feature of the program. Troop 499 serves their local community by serving food at their house of worship as well as at local charities.
The Multifaith prayers began with gathering songs led by Chris Lundin from Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice (MVPJ) and the Mitzvah Singers from Congregation Etz Chayim.
It was followed by blowing of Shofar by Steve Rabin, Congregation Kol Emeth, Palo Alto and Azan (call for prayers) by Abdullah Navaid a 7th Grade student from Palo Alto.
Litany Prayer of Lament was read by Farukh Basrai, Anjuman-e-Jamali and and Rev. Mark Arevalo, Spark Church, Palo Alto.
Baha’i Prayer for Unity & Peace was offered in Persian and English by Mahrou Derakshani from San Jose and Chris French from Woodside.
Buddhist Loving kindness Meditation was sung by Rev. Fa Jun, Buddhist/Interfaith Minister, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Los Gatos.
Hindu Prayer for Peace was offered by Sathya Sai International Organization, Region 7 Young Adults. They were singing: “May all the beings in all the worlds be happy.”
Rev. Annanda Barclay, First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto, also spoke on peace and fraternity.
Beth Am Children’s Choir was led by Cantor Jaime Shpall Hinei and Steven Wynbrant.
Farha Andrabi Navaid, President, MVPA Musalla (daily worship and community center for Muslims of Palo Alto and adjoining areas), spoke about peace and justice in Islam.