An essay contest about equity, diversity, and inclusion will award cash prizes to Chippewa Valley high school students. The Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation recently announced its 2018 essay contest for students in ninth through 12th grades. First- and second-place winners (who will receive $300 and $200, respectively), will be chosen from each of the following schools: Chippewa Falls High School, McDonell Central High School, Memorial High School, North High School, Regis High School, and Altoona High School. One category of entries from students at other area high schools, as well as home-schooled students, will also be awarded first and second prizes. Essays must be 1,000 to 1,200 words long and should address one these questions:
1. What does racial, gender, and cultural diversity mean to you and how does it manifest in your local community in the Chippewa Valley?
2. How have the contributions of immigrant communities such as the Latino, Hmong, Somali, Bosnian, and others impacted the Chippewa Valley?
3. How has the religion of Islam positively integrated itself into modern American culture and society? What is the history of the Muslim community in the Chippewa Valley and how has their presence enriched the local culture?
4. How are the goals of the Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations relevant to your local community and how can high school students in the Chippewa Valley work to forward these ideas?
The contest deadline is March 30. The Taman Foundation was formed to honor Mahmoud Taman, a native of Egypt who spent 43 years living and working in the Chippewa Valley. He co-founded the Islamic Society of Northern Wisconsin, which operates a mosque in Altoona, and was a leader in local interfaith dialogue. To learn more about the foundation and the contest, visit mstamanfoundation.orgor email MSTamanFoundation@gmail.com.
Photo credit: VolumeOne
JANUARY 16, 2018 BY THE CVPOST ADMIN
Chippewa Valley high school students from Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Altoona and surrounding communities are eligible to compete for cash awards in an essay contest focused on global citizenship, civil society and diversity, according to an announcement from the Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation.
The 2018 contest’s theme is “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” in the context of local communities, in keeping with the foundation’s goal of promoting racial and ethnic diversity and inclusivity in the Chippewa Valley The contest is open to current 9th through 12th graders, and the deadline for submitting completed essays is Mar. 30.
There will be separate contests at each school for Memorial, North and Regis High Schools in Eau Claire; Chippewa Falls and McDonnell High Schools in Chippewa Falls; and Altoona High School. Homeschooled students and those from other high schools in the area are also eligible and will compete in a separate category.
Prizes of $300 for first place and $200 for second place will go the top two essays in each of the seven categories.
The contest requires essays of 1,000 to 1,200 words responding to one of the following questions:
1. What does racial, gender, and cultural diversity mean to you and how does it manifest itself in your local Chippewa Valley community?
2. How have the contributions of such immigrant communities as the Latino, Hmong, Somali, Bosnian and others impacted the Chippewa Valley?
3. How has the religion of Islam positively integrated itself into modern American culture and society? What is the history of the Muslim community in the Chippewa Valley and how has its presence enriched the local culture?
4. How are the goals of the of the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights (http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html) relevant to your local community and how can high school students in the Chippewa Valley work to forward these ideas?
DECEMBER 20, 2017 BY THE CVPOST ADMIN
Ten Chippewa Valley nonprofit organizations received support in 2017 from the Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation.
The successful proposals fit the foundation’s mission of promoting peace, interfaith efforts and the overall promotion of humane causes and humanity, according to a press release from the organization.
An additional award went to Jeta Lubotoni, who received an Islamic Studies scholarship to help support her work toward a master’s degree in Middle East and Islamic Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.
Her interests include the unique practices of Islam among Albanians (her own heritage) as well as the interactions between religion and culture more broadly. She is passionate about youth access to trustworthy religious counseling and guidance.
Lubotoni, from Springfield, Virginia, completed her undergraduate degree in International Relations at American University in Washington, DC.
Sahar Taman, the foundation’s secretary-treasurer, noted that the organization “strives to contribute to the local community through diverse and sustained philanthropy.” This, she said, “was a lifelong vision of Dr. Mahmoud Taman, who worked and served as a physician in the Chippewa Valley for more than 40 years.”
Dr. Mahmoud Taman
The foundation’s 2017 grant recipients included a religion writers workshop, a local book festival, promotion of breastfeeding, an after-school STEM education initiative, community-based racial diversity training and a local radio program focused on peace, spirituality and activism. Other grants went to help prepare young Muslims to be productive citizens and active community members; to support UW-EC students in peace and conflict studies; to help lift the voices of the formerly incarcerated; and to help fund a community meal program.
Organizations receiving grants were:
The Boys and Girls Club of Menomonie (http://www.cvclubs.org/menomonie) to support a STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) education initiative.
The Chippewa Valley Book Festival (www.cvbookfest.org), which commemorated its 18th anniversary in 2017. The Festival arranges for author readings, book signings, school visits, workshops and programs for writers of all ages.
Chippewa Valley Ex-Prisoners Organizing (CV EXPO), to support its efforts to lift the voices of formerly incarcerated individuals to the forefront of the fight to transform Wisconsin’s criminal justice system; and to guide individuals as they navigate barriers for successful reintegration into the community.
The Chippewa Valley Writers Guild (www.cvwritersguild.org), to support a craft talk earlier this month on how writing can promote interfaith dialogue and strengthen communities.
Circles of Change, UW-Eau Claire(http://marketing.campaigns.uwec.edu/circles-of-change/), an initiative aimed at building and embracing a more racially and ethnically diverse and inclusive environment here. Funding was granted to provide Family Conversation Kits (a selected group of books) at local libraries to help stimulate family discussions about race and ethnicity.
The Community Table (http://thecommunitytable.org/), to support its mission of serving balanced, nutritious meals in a safe, welcoming environment and to connect those in need with existing resources as well as to enlighten the public on issues of hunger in the Chippewa Valley.
Islamic Society of Northern Wisconsin – Center and Mosque(http://altoonamasjid.com/), to support its efforts to prepare young Muslims to be productive citizens and active members of their community.
Northern Spirit Radio (http://www.northernspiritradio.org), to assist its longtime flagship programs, Song of the Souland Spirit in Action, in further diversifying their topics and interviewees, including Islam-related programs.
Northwestern Breastfeeding Network (https://themilkmob.org/), to help support a local conference. The Network is a 26-year-old organization of lactation professionals working to improve breastfeeding rates in the Chippewa Valley.
UW-EC Center for Global Politics (http://www.uwec.edu/academics/college-arts-sciences/departments-programs/political-science/about/center-for-global-politics/), to support student-driven research and publication relevant to Islam, multiculturalism, civic duties and peace. The Center will help students present papers at the annual faculty-student conferences of the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.
The Taman Foundation welcomes submissions of proposals from individuals and organizations for initiatives that align with its vision. Proposals that address the needs and growth of the Chippewa Valley community may be submitted year-round at mstamanfoundation.org.
The "6 of Substance" series is the Chippewa Valley Post's news of area nonprofit organizations in order to increase public awareness of their missions and activities, and to provide information that otherwise might not be made available.
Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation
Who do you serve?
The Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation’s goal is to serve the Chippewa Valley community, especially youth, as well as community, social service and social justice organizations. We create and support projects and grassroots initiatives that promote interfaith and civic causes whose general nature is the promotion of humanity. Initiatives include interfaith outreach actions (especially those advocating for inclusivity of Islam), civic participation, peace education, humanitarian issues, health promotion (including mental health awareness and advocacy), education and literacy, arts and culture. These efforts can be undertaken by organizations or by individuals who aim to fulfill a need in the targeted community. The Foundation also serves individuals and groups outside the Chippewa Valley – in northern Wisconsin, elsewhere in North America and internationally.
How long have you been established in the Chippewa Valley?
The Foundation was established in 2015. It was a wish of Dr. Mahmoud S. Taman, who lived here and served the Chippewa Valley as a psychiatrist and a Muslim interfaith advocate, to continue to support his community and causes he valued. The Foundation’s three current programs include an essay contest for Chippewa Valley high school students to promote discussion on equity, diversity and inclusion. We also provide community grants to organizations and individuals for efforts that align with our mission. Finally, we award scholarships to Islamic studies students in North American universities.
The Islamic Society of Northern Wisconsin – Center and Mosque originally managed the Mahmoud S. Taman Trust which offered some of the programs of the Foundation but on a smaller scale. Visit our website to see some of the past programs.
What are the major issues you will be facing over the next 18 months?
One of our major goals is to stimulate a discussion in the Chippewa Valley about the importance of diversity and inclusion within our community, as well as in the nation. We think that asking youth to learn about those who are different from them will bring people together, whether this involves the white majority population learning about minority populations or minorities studying the vast diversity in the majority. We also wish to support actions that aim to bring about social equity, which includes addressing mental health care, pulling people out of intergenerational poverty and overcoming Islamophobia.
Aside from financial support, how can the Chippewa Valley Community support you?
We hope that our programs will become well known in the Chippewa Valley. We are providing small grants and want the Chippewa Valley to see us as a resource. We hope to engage with the many ongoing initiatives by providing a new perspective.
Who are some of the key people in your organization?
We have a diverse board of directors including friends and colleagues whom Dr. Taman valued, and his three children: Sahar, Mona and Tarik. The president of the Mahmoud S. Taman Foundation is Prof. Ali Abootalebi, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Originally from Iran, he is a researcher on the Middle East, especially Iran and the Palestinian/Israeli issue, and a social justice commentator and blogger. His vision is for the Foundation to become an integral part of the community. Sahar Taman, Dr. Taman’s older daughter, is secretary-treasurer of the board. She has a background with the federal government and in interfaith dialogue and international exchange. She hopes that the Foundation will honor and promote the many passions of her father. The board also includes Dr. Thom Chisholm, a Chippewa Falls native and an armed services veteran who returned to the area after a distinguished world-wide medical career. He is a co-founder of the Open Door, a free medical facility in Chippewa Falls.
What is the most important thing about your organization that people should know, but don’t?
While the Foundation is still a small organization, we are open and accessible to all ideas from the community. We look forward to hearing new ideas about how we can improve and serve the real needs of the area.
Dr. Thom Chisholm's thoughtful article on healthcare was published in the September 28, 2017 Eau Claire Leader Telegram.
It Seems to Me: Repeal measure ill-advised
by Thomas Chisholm
The billionaire in the White House and Congress insist that Obamacare be stricken from memory and replaced with Trumpcare, health care reserved for special American patients.
I was taught, “to be worthy to serve the suffering.” Medicine is a sacred trust, an art, a calling, not a business. “One of the essential qualities of a physician is interest in humanity for the secret in the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.” The current bill advocated by the Republican majority is unworthy, uncaring and inhumane. It is business as usual, partisan and exclusive.
Fortunately, the AMA, the American and Catholic Hospital Associations, The American Medical Students Association and other groups, including AARP, are opposed to the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment to H.R. 1628.
Unlike its rigid opposition to Medicare in 1965, the AMA states this latest effort to repeal or improve the ACA fails the principal of “first do no harm.” It would jeopardize health insurance for tens of millions of Americans and destabilize access to affordable coverage and care.
In his recent letter to Senate leaders, Dr. James Madara, CEO of the AMA, urged Congress to focus on stable premiums, avoid any law that would cause the loss of insurance for those currently covered, those with pre-existing conditions, and continue the parental coverage provision. Dr. Madara insists that Medicaid, CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) and other safety-net programs be adequately funded.
His letter reminds the Senate that per-capita caps fail to anticipate costs for medical improvements or the impact of public health epidemics, including opioid abuse. The AMA adds that allowing states to base premiums on health status could make insurance unaffordable and objects to eliminating the ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund after 2018.
If the Senate passed the bill before the end of September as the Republicans desired under current rules, the CBO would not have had time to measure the cost or the effects of H.R. 1628 on more than 23 million Americans excluded from health insurance.
Who will care for those millions? There are approximately 1,200 free clinics in the nation, including Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and Menomonie, serving the untouchables — for primary care only. Are we concerned; are we caring for the patient? Is the amendment to H.R. 1638 just?
There is a solution: America Care — financed equitably by taxes rather than premiums only the Brahmins can afford.
Dr. Chisholm, of Chippewa Falls, is a member of Veterans for Peace and the American Medical Association.
Contact: Sahar Taman, MSTamanFoundation@gmail.com
The Mahmoud S Taman Foundation is pleased to announce a series of new programs aimed at promoting peace, interfaith, and civic causes by providing grants to initiatives in the Chippewa Valley of Wisconsin, in the U.S., and around the world.
The programs include:
Please review the website for details.