Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) Executive Director Khalil Demir attended a breakfast organized by Arise Chicago on May 1st, International Workers’ Day, which featured actor/activist Martin Sheen as guest speaker. The event brought attention to the rights of not just workers, but human beings in general as they strive to live a better life with dignity.
In a personal conversation, Mr. Demir detailed his memories of growing up with fear in an unstable environment as a refugee child and shared with Mr. Sheen how his upbringing has shaped his commitment to humanitarian work and social justice, a dedication that has resulted in more than 14 years of international service by ZF.
The discussion continued with Mr. Demir briefing Mr. Sheen on ZF’s work in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, a country that has been enduring a bloody, five-year-long conflict. After carefully listening to Mr. Demir’s briefing, Mr. Sheen expressed how heartbroken he feels to see such a beautiful country like Syria broken apart and devastated. He elaborated that he has visited Syria and very vividly remembers the historical streets and ancient monuments of the city of Aleppo. Mr. Sheen went on to express that he commends any work that will help ease the suffering of the Syrian people and prays for peace in the region.
ZF continues to support work being done to improve the lives of many around the world and was grateful for the opportunity to share thoughts with an activist like Mr. Sheen whose motto is “Acting is what I do for a living; activism is what I do to stay alive.”