On the night of Monday, June 13 community members in Montgomery County came together for a #SolidarityIftar with the LGBTQ community following the horrific mass shooting in Orlando, Florida on Sunday Morning. The event was co-organized by Free State Legal | Equality Maryland, the Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County, and the World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE).

200 members of the LGBTQ and Muslim communities participated in the #SolidarityIftar and listened to the statements of community leaders prior to the breaking of the fast. Over 30 organizations co-sponsored the event, and countless elected officials from across the region were in attendance.

Community speakers included Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi of WORDE, Patrick Paschall of Free State Legal and Equality Maryland, and Hamza Khan on behalf of the Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County. LGBTQ community leaders who spoke included State Senator Rich Madaleno (D-18), who was instrumental in organizing the event, and Delegate Bonnie Cullison (D-19). Both are members of the Montgomery County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, and staunch allies of the Muslim Community.

State Senator Rich Madaleno (D-18) spoke passionately at the #SolidarityIftar. Senator Madaleno helped behind the scenes in rallying elected officials to attend the event, and enthusiastically agreed when first approached with the Muslim Community’s request for a solidarity event. He lifted us all with words of motivation and hope–before and during the event.

Prince Georges County’s Nadia Hasan (Young Leaders Institute) recited the names of those who died during the mass shooting, and Howard County Muslim Council president Shahan Rizvi concluded the official program of the event a powerful tribute of spoke word poetry.

Others who spoke included Montgomery County Council member George Leventhal, a strong ally of both the LGBTQ community and the Muslim community, as well as a long-time bridge-builder between both communities, as well as county administrative officials and Reverend Kasey Mansfield, who spoke on behalf of County Executive Ike Leggett.

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