Nasim, Sa’adi

Breaking My Ramadan Fast at the I-Hotel

I have been working near the I-Hotel since 2005 and I was familiar with the history of the “We Won’t Move” campaign. Initially I never entered the center but always passed by it during my lunch breaks. I think in 2010 there was a musical event and I met Matthew and Evelyn. Gradually everyone here became like family. I attended many of the musical and art events but I became more passionate to learn about their history and struggle.

You don’t have to be a Filipino to relate with the folks at Manilatown. As an Indian and as an immigrant I could relate to their history and ow they came over their eviction crisis through peaceful activism. During the anniversary of 2011, I was observing my fasts for the month of Ramadan. Evelyn said that I should break my fast at the I-Hotel and she’ll have something ready at sunset.

Usually I break my fasts at home or at a Mosque. Again, the I-Hotel always felt like a second home. Have my fast at the I-Hotel in 2011 during Ramadan really made me feel that this place is my home. Ramadan is not only about not eating and not drinking, but also a time to reflect and be more humble. The I hotel is such a place where one can truly learn about humility and also reflect on its history.

History, good or bad, can repeat itself. Unfortunately, history is repeating itself in San Francisco and the Bay Area we are seeing more evictions of good, hard-working people. Reflecting on the history of the I-Hotel and Manilatown really helps us re-energize the “We Won’t Move” chant once again. There is much more to write but the most important thing is that the I-Hotel will always be home to me!

© 2015 Sa’adi Nasim