BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
In celebration of Eid Al-Fitr, City Hall held a celebration on Tuesday to pay tribute to the city’s Muslim community and honor various Muslim-based organizations, including one from Southeast Queens.
Among the five honorees was the Khan Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides college and career readiness programs to low-income and undocumented high school students in Jamaica.
Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-Jamaica) and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito presented the Khan Foundation with a proclamation in recognition of their commitment to advancing educational opportunities for less-fortunate children.
Khan Foundation Program Director Melissa Johnson said that the organization understands the challenges that children from low-income families face and that due to their financial or immigration status, they have not been able to attend the colleges of their choice, obtain scholarships or even apply for higher education from fear of being deported.
“As an organization started by immigrants, first generation students and New York City outer-borough residents, we understand the difficulties of navigating the education system and the professional world with limited assistance and representation,” said Johnson. “Therefore, at KF, we are committed to the mission of increasing access to higher education for underrepresented high school students, particularly those low-income and undocumented through college admissions guidance, standardized test prep and college success mentoring so that we can contribute to expanding opportunity for the communities most in need.”
Thus far, the Khan Foundation has helped approximately 70 low-income students gain acceptance to top colleges with scholarships.
“Today will mark the moment when the Khan Foundation can take our work to the next level and continue building the American Dream for so many low income students and immigrant families after us,” said Johnson.
During the celebration, City Hall was filled with Muslim leaders from across the city. The event included live music, singing, educational speeches and food.
Miller, who is the only Muslim council member, said that the celebration involved more than a celebration of a successful Ramadan—but was also a moment to come together.
“These are challenging times and we need to know each other,” said Miller. “We need to be able to collaborate and bring our strengths together and our talents together in order to address what’s coming out of Washington D.C. While we are here to have a good time and celebrate the blessings that have been bestowed upon us because of a successful Ramadan, we want to also get to know each other.”
The Khan Foundation’s College Access Program is set to re-launch this August to prepare an additional 40 students with college prep and career readiness mentoring.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.