ICCNC: In addition to announcing the annual speech by the Mayor of Oakland at the ICCNC, the East Bay Times reported on the details of the event and interviewed Peyman Amiri, the chairman of the ICCNC’s Board of Directors.
In the interview, Peyman Amiri expressed his wish that Oakland residents attending the event become familiar with the Center’s capabilities and potential and it’s past and future.
Read this report from the East Bay Times:
OAKLAND — To denounce racism, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf will be making this year’s State of the City address at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California.
“This year I wanted to use the opportunity of the State of the City address to make a statement about Oakland’s highest ideals of diversity, inclusion and compassion for our neighbors,” Schaaf said at a City Council meeting.
The annual event, which is typically held at City Hall, allows the mayor to give residents a progress report on city government’s projects and challenges. The speech will follow a performance by the Aswat Ensemble, a musical group featuring members from the seven countries included in President Donald Trump’s “misguided” travel ban, Schaaf said. The free, RSVP-only event also will feature an introduction by the cultural center’s executive director, Payman Amiri, and a closing performance by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir.
“The Islamic Cultural Center is inviting all residents of Oakland to come into their home so that we can be together as one community,” Schaaf said.
Amiri said the Islamic Cultural Center’s directors were thrilled when Schaaf came to them with the idea of having the event take place there.
“The fact now that she’s holding the State of the City address in our center tells us she’s sending a message of inclusivity,” Amiri said. “At a time when certain groups are trying to polarize our nation, she’s trying to unite the city.”
Schaaf’s address will focus “on how we are rolling up our sleeves together to take on so many challenges,” she said at the council’s Oct. 3 meeting. Those challenges include “the cost of living crisis, homelessness, housing affordability, fixing a crumbling infrastructure, climate change and this new national atmosphere of hate and bigotry.”
The mayor also will talk about plans to implement a city-sanctioned “Safe Haven” homeless encampment, Schaaf’s spokesman Justin Berton said.
Groups to be featured at the State of the City include Kiva Oakland, East Bay Housing Organizations and Centro Legal de la Raza. Organizers of the city’s Adopt a Drain and Oakland Promise programs will also be included.
Several public speakers at the council meeting urged Schaaf to talk about displacement, homelessness and institutionalized racism at the State of the City.
“In your State of Oakland, I hope you’re speaking to not just this new Oakland that you’ve helped usher in and that your mentor, Jerry Brown, helped usher and bring in, but that you are talking about the Oakland that you went to high school with, the Oakland that is traumatized and under attack,” said Anita De Asis, organizer of the unsanctioned Village homeless encampment the city shut down earlier this year.
De Asis also urged Schaaf to address the driving out of marginalized groups from the city.
“There are black, brown, immigrant and Native American folks who have made Oakland this great, rich city of culture, history and activism, and that is being erased,” De Asis said. “I would like to hear you talk in your State of Oakland how you are going to make sure that erasure stops.”
Amiri urged people to come to the event and see what an Islamic Center is truly like.
“If you have never been to an Islamic center, you will find that the people of this community could be your supervisors, doctors, bosses or lawyers,” Amiri said. “Now you can go to their place of worship and find they are normal human beings just like you, and they will greet you with open arms, an open heart and a faithful smile.”