IMAN ATL Breaks Ground, Leads Interfaith Efforts

IMAN Atlanta has been extremely active as it continues to carve out its place in the larger metro area. The Atlanta Green ReEntry cohort broke ground on its first renovation project along with dozens of local volunteers. In addition to launching the reentry work, IMAN ATL staff and leaders played key roles in several interfaith efforts that successfully highlighted the importance of health, wellness and healing in an inner-city context.

IMAN Atlanta played a key organizing role during a well-attended rally held in downtown Atlanta. Alongside allies from Redeemer Lutheran Church and other organizations, they called on residents to band together in support of groups targeted by proposed federal policies.

In conjunction with the Interfaith Children’s Movement, IMAN Atlanta staff and leaders also traveled to the state capitol for an important Advocacy Day. They pushed local legislators on several critical issues affecting the state’s youth, from increased job opportunities to more equitable, accessible public services for young people of all backgrounds.

On February 25, Director Mansoor Sabree and Atlanta Green ReEntry Coordinator Jermaine Shareef organized a “Hands On” community event, which served as a public groundbreaking for the IMAN ATL team’s first renovation project. Nearly 50 community members joined the first-ever Atlanta re-entry crew for a tour of the new property. After the tour, many attendees also rolled up their sleeves and chipped in to help beautify IMAN ATL’s soon-to-be headquarters.

IMAN Atlanta continues to establish itself as a vehicle for Georgia residents to engage the issues most directly affecting them. Be sure to follow IMAN ATL on Facebook to support their work, and for all the latest news and updates.

Green ReEntry Work Taking Root in ATL

IMAN Atlanta is primed to launch its first direct service as 2017 gets underway. After months of preparation, fundraising, securing community partnerships and acquiring property, Green ReEntry will soon begin working with formerly incarcerated Muslim men in the ATL Metro Area. Participants will enter IMAN’s unique and holistic regiment of transitional housing, spiritual development, basic education, life skills instruction, on-the-job construction training, and job placement support.

One of the newest additions to the IMAN team is Atlanta Green ReEntry Manager Jermaine Shareef, a licensed master plumber. Shareef embodies the model of transformation that the program seeks to replicate. As a young man, he was incarcerated for 9 years. While inside, Shareef was recognized as a model inmate: he dedicated his time to both self-help and helping others, took full advantage of his time, and earned various plumbing certifications.

Shareef also owns his own plumbing company, Najee Plumbing, which is widely respected in the state of Georgia. No stranger to the IMAN ethos of relationship-building, he has also organized as a criminal justice reform advocate and a committed mentor to other men returning home from prison. Be sure to stay updated on the latest Green ReEntry progress and all IMAN Atlanta projects by following them on Facebook.

IMAN, Community Partners Help Distribute 1000 Turkeys

img_20161122_105624438_hdrWith helping hands from the Mohammed Webb Foundation, Sabeel Pantry, Fairfield Academy and IMAN, nearly 1000 turkeys were distributed to local families on Tuesday, November 22nd. As part of the 16th Annual Chicago Muslim Turkey Drive, staff, youth leaders and organizers united for the total team effort needed to make such a far-reaching initiative successful. Green ReEntry cohort members provided valuable support as well, unloading many pallets of halal, high-quality turkey throughout the day.

IMAN’s participation in the Chicago Muslim Turkey Drive was not simply an isolated effort. Rather, the program is part and parcel of the tradition of grassroots work that IMAN is built on, symbolizing the best of what is possible when selfless citizens convene in order to galvanize their communities.

img_20161122_090740578Spearheaded by Sabeel Pantry and longtime IMAN leader Jihad Shoshara, the Chicago Muslim Turkey Drive received high-profile news coverage from several noted local media outlets. More importantly though, smiles beamed across the faces of hundreds of South Side residents that day as they picked up their turkeys. Such proactive outreach is a powerful reminder of the role that dignified, direct service plays in the betterment of our city.

Fresh Beats & Eats Concludes 2nd Year

img_20161026_093944After several months of spring and summer fun, IMAN’s weekly farmers market—Fresh Beats & Eats—ended its second year with a robust closing event. Nearly 100 community members visited the market on October 21, enjoying an extended live music performance by the Tubad & The Nation, an expanded lineup of some of Chicago’s freshest food vendors, and free gift bags stocked with healthy groceries. Walgreen’s representatives also administered complimentary flu shots on site.

Fresh Beats & Eats was able to begin rooting itself in the fabric of Marquette Park community life this year, with many residents becoming “regulars” and utilizing the market for their weekend shopping; while others came simply to sit, enjoy the sunshine and connect with neighbors. The arts, particularly music, truly reflected the vibrancy of the community, with homegrown talent performing everything from Latin jazz to soul classics to funk-filled grooves.

market 2016Perhaps the market’s greatest success this year was its establishment as a source of low-cost, high-quality foods in an area lacking in such offerings. Fresh Beats & Eats was able to partner with Illinois’ WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and LINK food assistance programs, which aided many residents in purchasing locally grown, organic produce from Urban Canopy each week. The community response was overwhelmingly positive, with many guests expressing their appreciation for the safety and dignity they felt while at the market.

IMAN thanks the long list of vendors and partners that helped make this Fresh Beats & Eats season successful. All vendors were local to Chicago, with many of them residing in the Southwest Side community. We also greatly thank the individuals and families who visited the market every week, see you next year!