The Muslim Students’ Association organized their annual Pink Hijab Day at UTM in the Student Centre hallway last Monday to raise awareness of and funds for breast cancer issues and research.
Between 15 and 20 MSA volunteers answered questions related breast cancer, baked and sold cupcakes and brownies, and hosted a spin-the-wheel trivia game with questions about breast cancer.
The participants in the spin-the-wheel game were given two minutes to answer questions. If they answered correctly, they won prizes that included pink ribbons, Post-it notes, and candy. Otherwise, they had to pledge money towards breast cancer research. The spin-the-wheel game was the main attraction of the day, according to Shaheryar Gilani, the president of MSA.
“The night before, there was a lot of discussion about ‘Should we cancel? Should we postpone it?’ We reached out to our members and said, ‘We know that there is a storm coming, but we’d like you to come out and show your support,’ and that riled people up,” said Gilani.
“It ended up being quite a successful event, even though if you look at the financial figure, we got much less than last year.”
This year, MSA raised $119, compared to $550 last year. The event was originally planned to include a barbeque outside the Student Centre, but when the event was moved inside because of the rain, the barbecue was cancelled. The lack of a barbeque was the main reason for the lower figure, according to Gilani.
Around 70 men and women supported the event by wearing pink clothing, including hijabs, shirts, ties, and socks. Pink hijabs were available for sale and for people to try on.
“Part of the purpose was to encourage people to become curious about the hijab and come ask about it,” said Maryam Khattab, MSA’s coordinator of sisters’ events and the head of Pink Hijab Day this year. “It encourages them to ask questions and clear up any misconceptions they might have about Muslim women, and also shows a different side to Muslim women in the sense of community involvement and being active regarding these issues.”
The event fell during International Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year. Pink Hijab Day was started in 2004 by a high school student in Missouri.
“It’s just a good way to reach out to the broader community and show that we’re not wrapped up in our own issues [in Islam]; we care about community issues as well,” said Khattab.
MSA organized the event in collaboration with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, a national organization for breast cancer awareness and action, and Cancer Awareness Network, a student club at UTM.