Richmond mayor declares July Muslim American Heritage month

July is recognized as Muslim American Heritage Month in Richmond for the first time.
Published: Jul. 17, 2023 at 6:34 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -July is recognized as Muslim American Heritage Month in Richmond for the first time.

Mayor Levar Stoney announced the proclamation Monday at a roundtable held at City Hall with State Senator Ghazala Hashmi, Ammar Ammonette of the Islamic Center of Virginia and Imam Michael of Masjid Bilal.

“Today, for the first time in Richmond’s and the Commonwealth’s history, I, Mayor Levar M. Stoney, am declaring July as Muslim American Heritage Month in Richmond,” said Stoney. “I ask each of you—every single Richmond resident—to humble yourselves and try to better understand and appreciate the rich histories, cultures, and shared principles of Muslim Americans. We should be working each day to show this kind of respect and compassion to one another. No matter the color of your skin, whom you love, or whom you worship—I want you to feel welcome, recognized, and appreciated in the City of Richmond. And I will fight hard each day to ensure we live out our ideals as a City of Compassion and one that upholds equity and inclusion for all.”

Stoney listened to various Central Virginia Muslim Community members talk through their experiences as Muslim Americans. Participants shared their personal stories about their identity and culture, the challenges and successes of being a Muslim in America and current barriers facing the Muslim American community, such as Islamophobia and hate crimes.

“They’re your doctors, they’re police officers, they’re firefighters, they’re local business persons and educators,” said Imam Michael. “They are people who participate and contribute to society every day.”

Stoney is also calling on lawmakers from Capitol Hill to designate July as Muslim American Heritage Month on the federal level.