Although on a personal level I have always been proactive in educating myself about social justice, calling my legislators about related pressing issues and never one to be afraid to speak up against injustice, I am not the type who would lend her professional persona easily to any kind of cause célèbre. AAWO's 2019 International Women's Day Gala and joint Fundraising proved to be the exception to the rule.
What drew me to Albanian American Women Organization is best expressed by its President, Beti Beno, Esq. "AAWO is an organization that deals with women's emancipation. We have also helped schools, art, culture by constantly responding to community needs while being present in meeting those needs".
In keeping with its mission of empowering women so they can join forces to help the community at large, the March 2nd Gala event in New York celebrated and awarded women, educators and philanthropists for their contributions to the community, as well as the arts and education. During this event, AAWO raised funds for the 1st Abanian Jewish Museum in Prizren, Kosovo which will provide community programs to include women and children as well. Albanians have always supported the Jewish community and this museum will be a celebration of the communcal history as well as promote inclusion and tolerance. Harry Bajraktari and Rrustem Gecaj are committed to collect $50,000 for the museum by the end of this month. I readily aggreed to contribute one of my art pieces to the joint effort of promoting social connectivity and empowerment through mutual support.
The project is carried out with the support of Congressman Elliot Engel, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives. Mrs. Patricia M. Engel attended the event and emphasized that "setting up this museum...shows that it is possible for people of different faiths to live together in peace and harmony", a belief that was strongly embraced by Besiana Kadare, the Albanian Ambasador to the UN as well as Honorable Ambassador Teuta Sahatqija, Consulate General of Republic of Kosovo in New York.