Tag Archives: Charities

Paul Walker: How He should be remembered

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Paul-Walker-Wallpapers

Author’s-Note:
“Every Soul shall taste Death. Then to Us, you all shall return.”(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.29, V.57)

“It is He who has created Death, as well as Life, testing which of you will do best. And, He is the All-Honorable, the All-Forgiving.”(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.67, V.2)

Paul Walker, A-List Actor, who made a signature-role for himself, as LAPD Det. “Brian O’Conner”, in the very popular “Fast & Furious” movie franchise, unfortunately, died in a car accident, in California, Nov. 30th, 2013. His death, of course, has shocked many. However, I don’t want to go too deep into his death, or how he died, because I personally feel that this would be an (unfair) infringement upon his respective loved-ones-I would like to simply focus more on how this Man had lived as opposed to how he died.

I’ve read some confirmed reports, by US Weekly, that he had came from a charity-event, for the typhoon-victims of the Philippines, prior to his untimely demise. Now, imagine that: realistically, this actor, much like many screen-stars like him, he could’ve been anywhere that night. Yet, he chose to be in the service of others, to help raise much-needed (monetary) relief-aid, for people whom he’s probably never met & would’ve probably never met; but, because they’re Human beings just like he is, he felt that it was that necessary to help them-It’s very ironic that had Paul Walker had not even died, we probably wouldn’t have even known that he was at a recent Filipino charity-event. To me, that actually speaks volumes about his sincerity, that he wasn’t looking to expose his own good-works just for the World to see.

This is what I’d like to really focus upon: this celebrity could’ve easily been at a party, or any other place on Earth that his status as an A-List Celebrity could afford him, which are so many/too many places to count; however, when called upon to help his fellow Man, he didn’t hesitate to respond. I have no idea what will become of him in the Hereafter, that is exclusively the Divine-Decision of Allah, his Creator/Lord. But, one thing that I can say, personally, as a Muslim, that I would rather have been like Paul Walker, doing something that will in fact enhance the Humanity of others via helping them in their darkest hours of need, than to die at a club, or in Jail/Prison, or on the streets of an Urban turf-war, or any other thing which poses no true benefit to anyone.

I think that it’s especially important, at this point, to be respectful to the sensitivities of those whose hearts are connected to this Man, like his family, friends, etc. Even Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), had said, “Insulting the dead causes grief to the living and does not reach the dead.”(Companions of the Prophet, AbdulWahid Hamid) I’ve seen some pretty tasteless things made about Paul Walker, whether it’s memes, or any other photo-shopped gestures, or even statements, which people seem to be appropriate as soon as someone is confirmed dead, when it reality, it’s so not appropriate at any time, but, especially at the time of someone’s death.

Let’s not only remember Paul Walker as just “some actor”, but, rather as a great Humanitarian, who spent the last weekend of his life in the service of others, while the rest of us would’ve just spent our weekends having what we call “Fun” & just selfishly enjoying our limited time here in the Mundane, without any care in the World, about the life of the Other. This Man, this Human being, who was more preoccupied with the business of being an Actor than any of us could possibly imagine, spent the last weekend of his own life in the service of others. How many of us, who are not Celebs, whom are not wealthy, who have all the time in the World, purposely walk by a person who may need our help & we pretend like they don’t even exist, as if their existence has zero-value?

So, to conclude, I’ll just end-off with the following advice: if you really respect Paul Walker, if you really love Paul Walker, if you really miss Paul Walker, if you’re really a fan of Paul Walker, then, do what Paul Walker would’ve done & did do…go out there, wherever you are & help someone, be the cause of improvement & enhancement of the Humanity of your fellow Man.

Gareth Bryant/2013

A Necessary “Thank You” to Oxfam, for teaming-up with Muslims Giving Back:

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Muslims Giving Back pic

Oxfam, one of the best, well known, organizations, dedicated to Food-Justice, has agreed to work with Muslims Giving Back, to help us in our noble efforts, and to continually collaborate with any/all projects, involving Hunger-Prevention/Food-Justice that we have. The reason why this is so important is because Muslims Giving Back is just one step closer to more positive recognition. We’ve struggled to be where we are, a lot during the past year. And, fortunately, Allah has always been supporting & protecting the integrity of our work.

Also, He has sent people, whom are working towards many of the exact same goals which Muslims Giving Back are striving for (one particularly being) Hunger-Prevention/Food-Justice. We, at Muslims Giving Back are so happy, to be an infant-organization, receiving an audience, help, and alliance, from such a well-experienced, well-seasoned organization, such as Oxfam.

We are truly humbled at the fact that such a well-renowned organization, with such a noteworthy reputation, has agreed to align themselves with us…this is truly an honor, as well as a very big-deal. This opportunity to work with Oxfam, will never be forgotten by any of us, from Muslims Giving Back. This is one of the best ways for Muslims Giving Back, to showcase our noble-efforts to embody our self-made slogan “No Human Left Behind”, on a much grander scale.

So, to Oxfam, you have given us, here at Muslims Giving Back, a grand chance to expand our work, experience, influence, in combating Hunger & Food-injustice, and we are most-thankful to you for that.

For more information about Oxfam:

http;//www.oxfam.org

For more information about Muslims Giving Back;

http://www.muslimsgivingback.org

I speak, on behalf of all members, volunteers, and supporters of Muslims Giving Back: Thank You.

Gareth Bryant,

National-Spokesperson, Muslims Giving Back

Gareth Bryant/2013

Oxfam is Awesome!!!

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Kristian Davis Oxfam Supporter pic

Kristin Davis, popular actress, of the world-wide critically acclaimed T.V. & movie series, “Sex In The City”, very recently did a commercial for Oxfam, an internationally-renown non-profit organization, geared towards establishing food-justice in under-developed countries, particularly. When I had seen this commercial on TV, I immediately told my mom that I had & still do work for this organization. Actually, this is the very first time that I’ve actually seen a commercials in which I actually have a legitimate relationship with, via actually working with/for them. It was such a great feeling that I had seen this commercial, it was really awesome; I had actually felt that the work which I had & still do for Oxfam actually goes a really long way.

Also, to see a celebrity, with such a powerful reach, like Kristin Davis, is very inspiring. She has a great opportunity to encourage, not only fellow celebrities, but, also, regular people, to go above & beyond, for the other, to help Humanity, in any/every capacity possible. I am very proud, as a Muslim, of being a part of an organization, such as Oxfam, which is so ambitious to helping people whom they’ll probably never even meet. As Muslims, we are, thetically, taught that being of good-service to others, regardless of orientation, ethnicity, nationality, language, gender, political-allegiance, etc. is a must-do, Islamically. Allah tells us that, “By Time. Verily, Humanity is lost (misguided, spiritually/religiously). Except those who believe (in Allah & his revelation) & do good, encourage one another via truth & encourage one another via patience.”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.103) This chapter displays, very clearly, that in order to be saved from misguidance, we, as Human beings must first help ourselves, by being obedient to Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe, then, by being good-people. And, ensuring that people have food, and good-quality food at that, to eat, and preventing starvation is most definitely one of the best things that someone/anyone can do. Saving lives, preserving life is actually of of the Maqasid/General-Maxims of Shari`ah/Islamic-Law: the Preservation of Life, which Allah makes very clear, as to the great merits of the preservation of life, within the Qur’an, itself.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.5, V.32)

Every March, in honor of Women’s-Day, there’s an annual awards ceremony, in New York City, honoring individuals, dedicated to Oxfam & all that it does for the world. Over 20 independent organizations, including an organization which I am a part of, Muslims Giving Back, the Muslim version of City Harvest, in New York City, came together, to celebrate & honor the immense accomplishments of 3 distinguished individuals, whom have dedicated their lives to food-justice…they are the following:

1. Leticia Alanis-

Co-Founder/Executive-Director of La Union in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. La Union is an organization of people of the global south working to advance the socio-economic and socio-cultural rights of communities where they live as well as communities which they’ve left behind, many within the state of Puebla, Mexico…One of these very important rights are access to healthy-food/healthy-food choices. Alanis states, “My goals are to advance social-justice goals, through dialogue and common-action, through my service to the empowerment of those affected by policies, but that rarely have a voice on their creation or implementation and working with those that have decision-making authority, to make systems work better for people.”.

2. Tanya Fields-

Executive-Director of the BLK Project, an organization seeking to address food-justice, public & mental health issues, as they specifically relate to under-served women of color, through culturally relevant education, beautification of public spaces, urban gardening, and community programming. She has worked with Mothers on the Move’s Environmental Justice Committee, and has served as an Outreach-Coordinator at Sustainable South Bronx, as an advocate for residents. Simultaneously, she is building a media company that seeks to unite women of the African Diaspora, through media, entertainment, and community projects. Recently, after being disinvited to speak at a conference on the food movement, she organized an event on February 16th, 2013, entitled, “Not Just Talk: Food in the South Bronx”. Her vision includes a democratic system that gives power back to communities and promotes sustainability.(http://www.ebony.com/news-views/activist-tanya-fields-on-race-class-and-the-food-justice-movement-406)

3. Winnifred Lee-

A former Co-Leader of Oxfam Action Corps, from 2009-2010, worked on a variety of farms, including: Wassaic Community Farm, along side memebers of the Malcom X Grassroots Movement & others from New York City communities, targeted by racism. As a former member of Oxfam, she had lobbied U.S.-Senators & U.S-Representatives, on Climate-Change, support for small-scale food producers, food-aid, and a global development strategy.

Oxfam is one of those pristine organizations, with an immaculate reputation for getting things done, as well as being very transparent, being able to see for one’s self all the boots-on-the-ground, frontline-work, which Oxfam, its workers, patrons, supporters, advocates, are 100% committed to. So, please, when it comes to Oxfam, give them your unyielding support, anytime/every time that you can.

Gareth Bryant/2013

My thoughts on Yusef Ramelize & his amazing project: “Homeless For One Week”

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Author’s note:
It’s very ironic how in a place like New York City, by far, the wealthiest city on the planet, in Human history, can actually have a significant homeless population. What’s also just as sadly amazing is how so many of us do nothing about it. I mean, sure there’s various organizations & food-banks. But, the real cure to homelessness is through the individual efforts of you & I, regular, everyday, nine-to-five kind of people, who see something within our society that’s a serious problem, and set out to do something about it. Well, fortunately, a very near & dear good Muslim brother of mine has taken on this mighty task, and has been doing something about it, for quite some time. His name, Yusef Ramelize, his efforts, going homeless, for one whole week, to get a serious, authentic sense of how the other half truly lives, in a place like New York City. Every year, during the annual, Islamic, fasting month of Ramadhan, he’s out on the streets, attempting to expose the realities of homelessness, to do his part in helping others whom have been abandoned in many ways, or have gone completely unnoticed by most of us, which is very easy, since many of us get caught in the matrix, of our mundane, nine-to-five lives. However, Mr. Ramelize takes off time from his job, to help expose the need to help people whom he’s never even met, and will probably never meet. With that being said, it is so very important that we support this man’s efforts, because he is truly doing a great thing, for his city, for his country, for his Humanity.

Yusef Ramelize: A great Muslim, a great Human being, with a great mission:

Going above & beyond passionate emotionally soothing talk, of wanting to make a difference, Mr. Ramelize has taken a very honest, pragmatic action, as the Founder and Project Director of the “Homeless For One Week” project, an annual initiative that he had began in 2009, to raise awareness about homelessness in New York City. His plan is to be homeless for one week, every year, during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadhan, while raising money and awareness about homelessness, through video-blogs and interviews.

His amazing humanitarian project, “Homeless For One Week”:

To Mr. Ramelize, the preparation for this particular project is mostly spiritual. The reason is not to mock the homeless; but, rather, it is an excuse to become closer to Allah, in obedience, via reflection about the other, especially during the month of Ramadhan, when reflection, as well as internal & external purification are typically at an all-time high anyway. This project focuses on reflection of how the other half truly lives & is forced to live. Over the past four years, money has been raised, for various Tri-State area based organizations, like, CAMBA (Church Avenue Merchants Block Association), Coalition for the Homeless, as well as Food Bank for New York City, to help spread awareness about the need to help the homeless.
Every year, the money that he has raised, as a result of his amazing efforts, goes to one, or more different charities, that work exclusively to help end homelessness & hunger. This year, he is raising monies for “Muslims Against Hunger”, based in the Tri-State area. Each year, he does something unique, as well, to really encapsulate the homeless-experience, not to patronize or mock the homeless, but, to rather truly know how it feels to have to go day-to-day, without the simplest luxuries, that so many of us either take completely for granted, waste, or both. For instance, last year, he did his “Homeless For One Week” project, without any footwear. The main reason for this was for him to sacrifice simple things, that so many people take for granted, far too often. This project is essentially geared toward consciousness & gratitude for all that we have & to help inspire others to help those who have less and/or nothing in comparison.

One of the main themes that he wants to face head-on are the very unfair & cruel “Stereotypes of the Homeless”: Lazy, shiftless, unskilled, jaded, poor work-ethic, scam-artists, etc. This year, he’s planning to make more of an effort to interact with homeless persons. Weather plays a very significant part in the effectiveness of this project. People don’t realize how weather affects people, who don’t have proper access to food, clothing and shelter. And, as Muslims, we owe it to Allah, then to our fellow man to make the lives of others better.

The positive results yielded thus far:

As a result of Mr. Ramelize’s extraordinary work, for this most noble project, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer had honored him, with a proclamation, as “Artist and Activist against Homelessness” and was also nominated as NY1 News’ “Queens, NY Person of The Week”, for his charitable spirit and promotion of awareness through his “Homeless For One Week” project. The “Homeless For One Week” project has been featured in the NYDaily News, NY Post, RT News, The Village Voice, ELAN Magazine, Arabnews.com, America.gov and DNAinfo.com.

Yusef Ramelize’s bio:
Currently working as the Production and Creative Manager
of Informa plc, one of the largest publishing companies in the world.
He holds a BFA in Electronic Design and Multimedia from the City College of New York. In his spare time, Ramelize does freelance marketing projects ranging from print ads for pop culture magazines, catalogs to business logos. In addition, Yusef Ramelize also works on various community projects, such as being the Community Outreach Director for CAMP (Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals), and as a Creative Consultant for Elan Online Magazine (A Muslim lifestyle online magazine).

So, in conclusion, if you are at all inspired by the great work, of such a great Human being, then, by all means, please support his noble efforts.

You can help him make a difference, by first visiting his website:

http://www.homelessforoneweek.com