In the heart of Hollywood, on the 22nd of June, a unique recognition ceremony unfolded at the American Federation of Teachers Headquarters. Husein Hatim Fatehi, a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community in Los Angeles, stood amongst nine students receiving The Campus Memorial Scholarship. Worth $1000, the scholarship recognized Husein’s compelling exploration of a pressing societal concern as titled in his essay, “How Los Angeles Pierce College is Helping Student Food Insecurity.”
The accolade was presented by Steven Veres, President, Board of Trustees, Los Angeles Community College District, and Union President Dr. James McKeever, Sociology Faculty at Pierce College. Veres, acknowledging his own working-class roots, lauded the award winners’ activism and service, citing social justice activism as “contagious, contagious in a good way.”
In his thought-provoking essay, Husein sheds light on the crucial issue of food insecurity among college students. Sixty percent of students enrolled in the Los Angeles Community College District face this reality. His essay states, “These issues not only affect our students’ well-being but also put them at risk of academic failure.” Husein goes on to highlight the work of Pierce College’s Food Pantry Program that provides free groceries to students in need. This program is an excellent initiative that helps ensure that no student goes hungry while pursuing their education. Moreover, it also creates a sense of community and support for students who may be struggling financially. It sends a message that the college cares about its students’ welfare and is committed to helping them succeed.
This powerful narrative resonates with the core values upheld by the Dawoodi Bohras, particularly regarding education and addressing food insecurity. Husein credits his awareness and sensitivity towards these issues to his volunteering for the Project Rise initiatives undertaken by his community. As an amateur photographer, Husein uses his skills to chronicle the activities conducted by Project Rise, deepening his understanding and empathy towards those experiencing hunger.
The Dawoodi Bohras of Los Angeles congratulate Husein on his achievement. His award demonstrates the transformative power of empathy, education, and community engagement. It is a testament to the collective strength of our community and our enduring commitment to foster positive change.