by Yara Almouradi
Over 300 individuals, mainly families, joined a group of over 30 volunteers to receive services as part of Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service. The event was spearheaded by MiNDS, a local community service and Family Centered Development non-profit organization, that brought together 12 other organizations to offer essential services to families in need. Giving Children Hope, a local and international aid organization based in Buena Park, CA, hosted the event. Joseph Jackson Jr., a Civil Rights era icon and student peace movement leader highlighted the event. Mr. Jackson, an Anaheim resident, was finally telling his story after 51 years of remaining quiet. “I couldn’t get myself to talk about my experiences all these years,” he said but felt that the times now called for it.
He was born on April 14, 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee and was a formidable figure in student desegregation movement. One of MiNDS’ stated goals is to promote service to others and encourage volunteerism. This was the group’s fourth annual outreach event and the second in North Orange County. Last year, MiNDS hosted one of the largest MLK Day of Service events in Orange County. MiNDS joined forces with the Fullerton Public Library to host a citywide Book Drive benefitting the MLK Day event. Tim Mountain, the Adult Services Division Manager, stated that it is “wonderful to see the community coming together to help one another.” He further mentioned that this was especially true when coming to education and sharing books with one another. The Fullerton Public Library also donated 120 bags for the event.
In a recent essay, Dr. Qazi, the cofounder and current President of MiNDS stated, “Many civil and human rights movements such as the struggles for racial and economic justice continue to intensify today. I am forced to assess the place of my faith community in this country within the context of these movements. Today, we are suddenly faced with a sharp rise in an extreme vitriolic, public display of outright racism, xenophobia and racial profiling more than in preceding years. Our work, including commemoration of this very day, is a formidable response to such attitudes and I’m grateful for the support of all the well-meaning individuals and groups that stand by us in this effort.” He further noted that MLK Day has become more than just a day of service or an opportunity to promote volunteerism. It has become a response and a struggle to retain all that is good in our society and a fight against the marginalization of all people. Dr. Taif Kaissi, Vice President of MiNDS, proudly noted that the “organization takes pride in its ability to bring a diverse group of faith and non-faith based organizations, as well as social service groups, together to celebrate this occasion by extending all of our goodwill to all.” MLK Day is a reminder that we all can make a difference.
Services offered included: enrollment in health insurance through Covered California, distribution of toys donated by Imperial Toys, books collected by Fullerton Public Library, clothes, shoes and hygiene kits provided by Uplift Charity, canned food items collected with assistance from Buena Park Police Department, as well as a variety of beverages by Neuro Drink. St. Jude Hospital administered BMI testing, education and counseling. YWCA-NOC provided follow-up clinic appointments and enrollments for mammograms. Participating
organizations also included CAPOC, Obria Medical Clinic, Taller San Jose, dental screening and counseling by Dr. Michael Ngo, and vision screening and counseling by Dr. Yamam Almouradi. Various supplies were donated by individuals while MiNDS provided additional subsidies.
Yara Almouradi lives in Brea, is a Masters of Fine Arts student and the Projects Manager of MiNDS, a Southern California non-profit.