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Community Notebook: Events marking 9/11 anniversary

Public invited to create care packages, attend picnic and prayer service

Participants of a multifaith prayer service hold hands while the Rev. Kaloma Smith gives a speech at King Plaza in Palo Alto on Sept. 11, 2017. Photo by Natalia Nazarova.

Palo Alto community groups have planned memorial events to mark the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

On Monday, the American Muslim Voice Foundation is hosting a Multifaith Peace Picnic downtown where event organizer Samina Sundas expects to see more than 250 people.

"Our intent was just really to honor the victims and in their loving memory to create this day," she said.

The event, open to the public, has been held annually since 2012. Sundas says that she hopes for others to "send the invitation to the whole world (to) plant the seeds of peace."

She hopes that the event, where attendees will honor the day with food and friendship, will show others that "people of all faiths and backgrounds are building a beautiful world together."

The picnic is scheduled from 5:30-7 p.m. at King Plaza outside City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.

Following the picnic will be a multifaith prayer service hosted by Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, Keddem Congregation, First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, American Muslim Voice, First Baptist Church of Palo Alto and Oshman Family JCC, from 7-8 p.m. to honor the victims of 9/11. The event is intend to "transform this tragic day into one of peace & community building," according to an event description on Facebook.

Antonio Aversano, whose father was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will share his story of how the events of Sept. 11 affected his life and family.

More information on the Peace Picnic and Prayers for Peace can be found here.

On Sunday, the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, in partnership with the nonprofit IsraAid, held a Day of Remembrance for Disaster and First Responder Awareness. Community members spent the afternoon creating "hands-on projects that will be donated to people living in emergency shelters" and preparing "thank you packs for First Responders in our area to show ... appreciation for all that they do," according to an event description on the center's website.

Luba Palant, the OFJCC's community engagement director, said that the organization hosted the event for a second year to honor the lives lost in the 9/11 attacks.

"This year, with the hurricanes hitting the East Coast we thought we would reimagine the event a little bit, and (give) people an opportunity to do something good, both in memory of those who perished in 9/11 and to help those in need right now," she said.

Dr. Niveen Rizkalla from the University of California at Berkeley, was scheduled to make remarks. More information on the event, and how to donate items for the needy and first responders can be found here.

The free, family event was scheduled from 4-6 p.m. at Schultz Cultural Arts Hall, Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way.

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