ATBC Public Service Appreciation Dinner

On April 21st, American Turkic Business Council hosted a Public Service Appreciation Dinner for the Greater Houston Community and elected officials to reflect on how we could make Houston a better place.  

President & CEO of the American Turkic Business Council, Mr. Orhan Osman states his opening remarks with a beautiful speech: “We are not only here to break our fasts but to also come forth with our unity to celebrate our differences in addition to all of the religious holidays taking place this month. In the past couple of years or so, many challenges were faced. We are here today in hopes of remembering that we are not alone. Let us see today as the start of working toward our common goal and recognizing our unity. Happy holidays.” This month, for the first time in 30 years, the three Abrahamic Religions’ holy holidays are celebrated: Passover, Ramadan, and Easter. This is an opportunity to recognize and accept our similarities as well as our differences. 

Following, Dr. Hopkins, president of the Houston Community College Southwest, delivered his inspiring speech: “As I look around the room I just see the beauty of the community, I see the diversity. And I’m reminded that as we come together as a community we make it better, we feel a sense of belonging, instead of looking for differences we see the human beings we are and the common things we share, people are scared of what they don’t know or understand. Today as we are facing a horrible situation around the world, I’m reminded that I’m a child of someone who escaped a situation like that. When we come together we are reminded that we’re more similar than we think.” By recognizing our similarities and finding our common ground, we can reach unity. 

A very well-known elective official, Senator Whitmire, having served 10 years in the Texas House of Representatives, is a passionate advocate for quality education, affordable higher education minority, women’s rights, and mental health services. He is a member of the senate finance committee where he is aiming to find appropriate solutions for funding the state’s many AFC programs.  Senator Whitmer has watched as Houston evolved to what it is today. He says, “No event have I been invited to in 50 years of public service is more meaningful than the event tonight. For you to share your most spiritual month with me is an honor that I’ve never had before. I want us all to just pause. I can remember it wasn’t many years ago that we could be at an event like this, sharing love and respect, and diversity. We cannot take such moments like this for granted.”

This event was also hosted in honor of Jason Knox, a former police officer at the HPD who was killed in a helicopter crash while responding to a call on May 2nd, 2020. Officer Rodriguez, commander of the HPD southwest division as well as a friend of Officer Knox, says, “When I was young in primary school, field day was the best day. The 40-yard dash race was my favorite. This race has a beginning and an end. In honor of Jason and his family, I want to speak of Jason’s dash. Death is a certainty but life is not. When we all pass you’ll have a headstone with your name on it. The day you were born, the day your dash started. That dash is the legacy you leave on earth and the moments you live on earth.”

Councilmember Ed states his closing remarks with a heartening speech: “To the Turkish center, special guests friends and family it’s great to be with y’all, and thank you for hosting such a meaningful event. Fasting is a sacrifice to show humanity, faith, etc. it’s a sign of reflection it helps us think back to who we are and what kind of person we are. During this holy period, take the time to reflect on who you are what you wanna be, what you wanna see this city become. We all work together and we become friends when I look at the men and women in law enforcement. When they are called they don’t ask if you are Jewish or Muslim or Christian. If you are republican or democratic. They receive the call and they go. I’m proud to be here before you all as a representative of Houston. As we conclude this program don’t take this as a formality take this time to reflect on who you are where you are and what you wanna see.”