Bilal A. Salaam
Masjid Yusuf Shah held their 22nd annual Appreciating Our Women, New Year’s Breakfast in 2012 at Juliano’s in New Rochelle, NY. Imam Musa Abdul Ali said the opening prayer and introduced the master of ceremonies, Hassan Bilal.
This year four women were honored along with one well deserving man. The traditional all you can eat breakfast menu, included an omelet station. Music was provided by the Solomon Hicks band. Many of the guests remember Solomon Hicks as the 17 year old protégé of the late, great guitarist, Melvin Hassan Sparks. Live music was also provided by jazz vocal stylist, Carrie Jackson and vocalist Abdur-Rahim Salahuddin. Linda Litt recited her original poetry. Jazz flautist, Yahya Abdul Ali, also joined the band for a few lively numbers.
This year’s special honoree was Shirley Bullard. She is a 68 year old widow and mother of 3 adult children, Simone, Cesar and Keemya. She is the grandmother of 6 children. She was born in Virginia but has lived in New Rochelle for 32 years. Shirley was honored for a lifetime of serving the public. She is very compassionate about working with people. Shirley spent many years as a unit secretary in the adult psychiatric department of Metropolitan Hospital in New York City. She has worked as the department secretary at Sound Shore Medical Center Nursing Department’s Howe Avenue Nursing Home. Since 1955, Shirley has been the administrative assistant at the Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless Inc. She thanks G-d for being able to experience good health and to be able to continue working at W.C.H.H. Inc. for over 16 years. During that time she assisted 141 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in Westchester County. She has been very effective in getting food, clothing and coats for the clients’ families in the various communities.
The award recipients included Petra Baskett, Joan Horton, Clyde Deloris Hemring, Karen Stewart-Hines and Abdur-Rahim Salahuddin. Petra was born in Harlem, USA to Puerto Rican family. She was educated in NYC and became a registered nurse. She taught RN students at the University of Puerto Rico and at Bronx Community College of CUNY. She has worked in the South Bronx as a public health nurse with the Visiting Nurse Service of NY and with the Dominican Sisters of the Sick and Poor. She is a very young looking, 78 year old widow with four adult children and five grandchildren. She cares for her 103 year old father, who lives with her. She praises G-d and thanks Dr Anwar Aziz, a physician from our community, for his service in caring for her father. She spoke of the increasingly abundant life and great joy she derives from serving in the “Feed the Community” program at the AcBaw Center in Mount Vernon, NY.
This is a program that was organized and sponsored by the Sisters of Concern at Masjid Yusuf Shah. The sisters raise money, prepare dinners and serve them free of charge once every month.
Joan Patricia Horton was born in Harlem, USA and relocated to Mount Vernon in 1955. Her three children, Steven Derek, Terrence Reuben and Melanie Horton were born, raised and educated there. They have grown up to become active participants in running the municipality of Mt. Vernon. Joan spoke of how G-d provided for her through difficult times, when she became a single parent during the early 1970’s. “As a thank you back to G-d for his gift of his twelve disciples”, she provides twelve families with a week’s worth of food once a month. She said that since she doesn’t drive, G-d provides her with “Earth Angels”. Friends, families and children have been rearranging their schedules to deliver non-perishable groceries. They even make late night runs into Harlem to make sure each family is provided for. She feels that each of us has the opportunity to make a positive impact in someone else’s life.
Clyde Deloris Herring is a member of the Mount Vernon Baha’i Community. She is the mother of two adult children, Kevin and Vanetta and one granddaughter, Faith. Clyde has assisted with the Al-Islam Community feeding program for at least 3 years. She believes that “Service is Worship”. Ms Herring is a vocalist, a quilter and a collage artist.
Karen Stewart-Hines is a great inspiration to us all. She is very devoted to serving the community in any manner she can. She is always ready to participate in endeavors from feeding the needy to cleaning the Masjid. Whatever she does is always outstanding and correct.
Abdur-Rahim Salahuddin was born in Snow Hill Maryland. He came to NY in 1959. He is one of the pioneers of the community of Al-Islam. He joined the NOI in 1973 He has been a faithful member of Masjid Yusuf Shah since it was founded. He has served as muezzin (The caller to prayer) since1980. Abdur-Rahim sang gospel with the Silver Tones before accepting Al-Islam. His distinct melodious voice once called the believers to prayer on Mount Arafat in Arabia during the Hajj. He is a very humble brother of whom the community is very proud. He was very surprised to find that he was the only man being awarded on the Women’s Appreciation Day.
Guests included Ismail Shamsid-Deen and Elbert Shamsid-Deen, who gave a brief address. Judy Hassan- Sparks, the widow of Melvin Hassan-Sparks attended with her family members.
The breakfast was well attended. The spirit was righteously high. The attendees started the year on a jubilant pitch.