Hala Hijazi is a friend who I came to know via a mutual friend of ours, Kofi Bonner. It was Kofi, then of Lennar Urban and now the Co-Chief Operating Officer of FivePoint, who introduced me to Hala by way of the business mixer organization she ran called “Professionals VIP.”
If there was any example of what it means for a person to be a “connector”, it was Hala Hijazi running Professionals VIP. Here’s a vlog from 2008, and an event produced for Karen Bass, then California Assembly Speaker and now California Congresswoman:
It was via Professionals VIP that I also met 49ers CEO Jed York in 2010. He worked with Hala and Professionals VIP to introduce what would have been the San Francisco 49ers New Stadium at Candlestick Point.
But I digress.
My acquaintance with Hala is as a professional friend, so it was by turns heart-warning, interesting, and also very sad to learn of this video called “Fighting for Humankind” that was created about her:
This video was created by filmmaker Rob Gourley. Hala describes him and how the video came to be her Facebook entry:
“…an amazing young man, a recent UNC college graduate, and a video-journalist came out to SF on June 3rd for 3 days to participate in the William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s National Championship/ Competition, part of the Journalism Awards Program, he was given the subject of diversity as his assignment.
In light of President Trump’s actions, he wanted his subject matter to be an American Muslim and to feature a day in a life of an American Muslim. He reached out to a friend in the community who referred him to me. And, I tried to refer him to others but he wasn’t having it…
Because he is filled with heart, faith, passion, empathy, sincerity, idealism, and hope…it was hard to say no to him.
As most of you know, the only thing that I wear on my sleeve is my heart…I spent my entire life so folks can judge me not on how I look, how I pray, where I come from…but on my character and on my deeds.
Rob, thank you for helping me to open up and to soften my heart and letting me see me for me.
Your talents, vision, and heart and eye for seeing through people, capturing their lives and livelihoods and telling and showing their stories are incredible and powerful!
You are the best of America. You are the future of America.
Hala reports that Mr. Gourley was an LA Times summer intern, and won a $10,000 prize from the 2018 Hearst Championship for the video! Congratulations to Rob Gourley.
But I have to reflect that the good thatis the Hala Hijazi video would not have happened, were it not for the evil reflected in the incredibly awful display of racism toward Muslims that has been issued via the Trump Administration. It started when Donald Trump ran for President of the United States, and then he pushed this racism toward levels never before seen with his so-caled “Muslim Travel Ban.” He did this suppsoedly to fight terrorism, Trump did, all the while ignoring the many examples of domestic terrorism done by white men – then calling some accused of those actions “very fine people.”