Detroit’s Day of Dignity, 2008 Unites Muslims

By Adil James, MMNS



Detroit–September 13–Once known as “Humanitarian Day for the Homeless,” and newly named the “Day of Dignity,” one of the best annual examples of Muslim philanthropy in the metro Detroit took place this past weekend at Cass Park in downtown Detroit, at the intersection of 2nd Street and Temple Rd.
The event was “equally rewarding as previous years, the only difference was that this year the rain stopped the majority of people from coming,” said Kecia Escoe, the Day of Dignity media coordinator.

As the remnants of Hurricane Ike soaked metro Detroit, volunteers set up tents and aid stations and provided medical care and care packages to local homeless people in Detroit–the Day of Dignity volunteers hired three school buses to bring the beneficiaries to Cass Park, and each school bus made three trips.  After the day was over, the volunteers brought the remaining gifts to local homeless shelters. 

The Huda clinic, based at the Muslim Center in Detroit, had a tent at the event and provided simple medical care. Amro Stino, originally from Egypt and now a student at Wayne State hoping to become a doctor, occasionally works as a Huda volunteer.  Of the Day of Dignity he said “Alhamdulillah, the event was organized; it was inspiring on a community level,” and he hoped that the event would inspire other such successes.

Perhaps what is most unique and rewarding about the Day of Dignity is that it unites Muslims, during Ramadan, of varying ethnic and economic backgrounds on the common ground of serving people who are more in need.  Arab, Asian, black and white Muslims all work together with a common can-do spirit to serve others. The day always seems more of a religious commitment than a political one, in part because the majority of the volunteers are fasting during the day.

P9137493 Organizations that volunteered time and resources were the Muslim Center of Detroit, the Muslim Unity Center of Bloomfield Hills, IAGD, the Shura Council of Michigan, Life for Relief and Development, and ILM.  Some volunteers drove from as far away as East Lansing (about 2 hours away).

Kecia Escoe summed up the high moral purpose of the event, “We are just believers who want to do good for the community.”

“It is not difficult at all because it is rewarding, especially for the children who volunteer, because it helps them to appreciate that [Ramadan] is only one month for us,” while the people served on the Day of Dignity face indefinite and sometimes permanent poverty.

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