Congratulations and a big thank you to the Community Alliance and its staff, writers and volunteers. The May issue was the best ever—both in content and layout! The well-written articles are timely, informative and address important issues that the mainstream media ignores. I hope others will join me in increasing their financial support for the Community Alliance. This newspaper is of critical importance in furthering progressive change in Fresno and the Central Valley.
Howard K. Watkins
Chair, Central Valley Progressive PAC
Why Cuba Solidarity Is Important to the Progressive Movement in the United States
There are many changes we need to make in society, many problems we need to solve and evils we need to eliminate. It often seems that our whole role is that of opposition, that we are defined by what we are against: racism, war, economic exploitation, environmental degradation. We are right to fight against these wrongs, but this can feel like always being negative.
Cuba, which has its own problems and imperfections, still provides another model of a society and economic system. It is profoundly different to see a country where “it will make money” is not the ultimate reason for all that is planned and done and where cooperation rather than competition is the ideal. Because this example is valuable to progressives everywhere, it represents a threat to the U.S. ruling class and U.S. government, which in turn have tried invasion, subversion and a 50-year blockade to try to defeat the Cuban revolution.
These attacks by the U.S. government and its sponsored Miami terrorist groups have killed and injured many people and have cost Cuba much suffering through the blockade, through violence, through the introduction of disease agents. But they have failed to overthrow the government and failed to re-conquer the people for colonialism and exploitation. Throughout the world, the United States imposes its will by violence, by economic force, by sponsoring coups. Cuba is the beacon for Latin America and the world, saying “It is possible to resist” and “It is possible to win.” We need to know these truths.
The 23rd Pastors for Peace Caravan will be coming through Fresno early in July. The caravan is an act of nonviolent civil disobedience that challenges the blockade. We take aid to Cuba as an expression of solidarity: as the people’s foreign policy. If you agree, lend a hand. Donations of medical equipment, especially wheelchairs, and medical supplies, as well as money are needed. Contact Gerry Bill at 559-227-2133 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Leni V. Reeves at 559-855-4511 or email@example.com. Checks may be sent directly to IFCO Pastors for Peace at 418 W. 145th St., New York, NY 10031.
Leni V. Reeves
An Open Letter to the LGBT+ Community
It’s an exciting time to be in Fresno! With Pride just around the corner and the summer heat ramping up, it is hard to wait out the final weeks of May.
We wanted to let you know about some changes that affect you, the LGBT+ community.
Gay Central Valley and Gay Fresno have split. To better serve the community at large, each organization will focus on what it does best.
Gay Fresno (www.gayfresno.com) will continue to bring you news and articles that are relevant to the LGBT+ community and offer a community calendar of events and resources.
Gay Central Valley (www.gaycentralvalley.org) will continue to focus on being an online resource, as well as expanding the current scope and programs of the LGBT+ Community Center in the Tower District (www.fresnolgbtcenter.org), and will be taking over the Rainbow Delegation—those fabulous rainbow bracelets (www.rainbowdelegation.org).
The transition is a positive one, and the two organizations will continue to work together because both have the same goal: to help the Fresno LGBT community be safe, secure and empowered.
We want to thank you all for your patience as both organizations adjust to the changes. We anticipate getting the bugs worked out and the Web sites updated within the next few weeks.
And then, only good things coming your way this summer: Pride! The Laramie Project 10 years later! The first LGBT+ community fireworks stand (supporting Gay Central Valley, United Students Pride, the Fresno College Diversity Club, My LGBT+ and Trans-E-Motion)! The NoH8 Project! And more.
Again, thank you for your understanding as we transition. We are happy to serve the community, but it is you, the LGBT community at-large, that supports us and lets us continue this vital work.
Gay Central Valley Board of Directors
In Recognition of the 10th Anniversary of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno
Our heartiest, warmest and sincerest congratulations to our brothers and sisters at the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno on its 10th anniversary, which was observed on April 21. We convey our love, joy and affection for reaching this great milestone. We are proud of your exemplary achievements within a short period of time. Your vision, leadership, outreach and services provided to the community are commendable and noteworthy.
Right from its inception, the Islamic Cultural Center has been a powerful and positive force in our community creating an atmosphere of understanding, tolerance and mutual respect.
Despite some misconceptions and negative publicity, sometimes hostile and vitriolic, you have stayed calm and maintained your inner peace in the true spirit of Islam, which we know stands for peace. In times of difficulty, you have extended your hand in friendship, opened your heart and home to greet and welcome all of God’s people.
Through activities, services and celebrations, you have educated us and liberated us from prejudices and phobias. You have built bridges of understanding and friendship. You have nurtured coalitions and partnerships particularly in the interfaith movement in Fresno such as the Interfaith Alliance of Central California, the Interfaith Youth Alliance, the Interfaith Scholar Weekend and the Multifaith Exchange, just to mention a few.
You have been a good role model in cooperation and understanding in the Fresno faith community. You are an inspiration in promoting religious harmony and peace building. The center is not only a place of worship to empower Muslim believers but also a place to inspire members of other faiths through interfaith dialogue, exchange and outreach.
The center is an amazing place where we find a kind, gentle spiritual leader like Imam Syed Ali Ghazvini from the Shia tradition of Islam and a dynamic cultural director, Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, from the Sunni tradition of Islam working together harmoniously and leading the center toward greater heights of excellence in the teachings of Islam in the next decade. It is a shining example of cooperation and coexistence. They practice what they preach. They preach what they practice. We are not only fortunate but also blessed with the presence of the Islamic Cultural Center in our community. Our best wishes for successful decades ahead.
Sister Veena Kapoor, Brahma Kumaris
Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus