IMAN Leaders & Volunteers Welcome 2015 MLK-Style

For the second year in a row, IMAN leaders and volunteers brought in the New Year by hosting a restaurant-style, MLK Commemorative Luncheon free of charge to local community members. Volunteer families served a delicious meal and hot drinks to local students, teachers, parents, workers and business owners, and encouraged diners to reflect upon and document possible solutions to issues facing our communities this year. Crescent Foods generously donated 24 halal chickens for the occasion and volunteer families prepared wholesome side dishes and desserts.

IMAN sees immense value in using the transformative spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy to color and inspire the work that it does throughout the year. We stand on the shoulders of so many dedicated families and institutions that have fought tirelessly to ensure that their community was afforded the dignity and quality standard of living that it deserved. Our nation is experiencing both turbulent and exciting times and we continue to ask for your prayers and support this year, as we expand our programming and discover new ways to build meaningfully with the people and communities around us. With your help, we hope to continue to inspire and transform lives and neighborhoods in 2015—in Chicago and across the world.

IMAN To Mobilize For Mayoral Candidate Forum

Through the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations (UCCRO), along with community organizations across the city, IMAN will be participating in and mobilizing leaders for a mayoral candidate forum on February 3rd. The forum is hosted by the University Church Chicago, and the candidates will address where they stand on issues facing black and brown communities. With elections less than a month away, this forum is an opportunity for IMAN to stand alongside community groups throughout the city to ensure that those elected to office commit to investing in and strengthening our communities.

If you are interested in getting involved with IMAN’s mobilization efforts for this upcoming election, or any of our other campaigns, please contact Director of Organizing, Shamar Hemphill, at shamar@imancentral.org.

IMAN Artist Leaders Go To APAP Showcase

With the support of the Chicago Community Trust, on January 10, 2015 Inner-City Muslim Action Network’s Arts & Culture Department hosted the first official Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) showcase featuring a collective of Chicago-based indie artists, Muslim and Non-Muslim alike.

As our final initiative for the 2014 Artist Leadership Program, we were charged with providing a platform for a diverse group of Chicago-based, Muslim and non-Muslim, artists to share their talent, build connections and enhance their practice. Over its longer than 27-year history, APAP had never had an independent artists showcase as part of their official showcase schedule, nor had it featured this many contemporary Muslim artists.

We thank APAP and all the attendees, crew members, volunteers, production manager Kate Pritchard, IMAN’s youth leaders, Rhymefest, Donnie Smith of Donda’s House Inc., visual artist Sam Kirk (for sharing his vision with us), the Hilton staff, and all those who helped make this historic event happen. Stay tuned for more information and announcements regarding the 2015 Artist Leadership Program!

Annual UCCRO Convention: Focus on Legislative Initiatives

IMAN staff and leaders recently participated in United Congress of Community and Religious Organization’s (UCCRO) annual convention at Madero Middle School. At this year’s convention, we focused on learning about and voting on the three issues that UCCRO will be focusing on during the Veto Session in mid-November and early December. These three policy priorities align with IMAN’s longtime commitment to working on issues of criminal justice, education, and youth.

The first piece of legislation, Prisoner Redistricting (HB 92), would require state and local governments to use census figures adjusted to reflect pre-incarceration addresses of Illinois’ state and federal prisoners in creating election districts and redistricting starting in 2020. The second piece, Local School Council Empowerment (HB5328), would strengthen the role of Local School Councils by giving them the necessary tools and governance to transform our most challenging schools. Finally, Fixing School Discipline (SB 3004/HB 4655), would limit the use of out-of-school suspensions, expulsion, and school-based arrests.

IMAN and other UCCRO member organizations will be mobilizing down to Springfield during Veto Session to meet with key legislators and encourage them to support these issues that directly impact our communities. If you are interested in learning more about IMAN’s policy agenda, or in joining us in Springfield, please contact IMAN organizers, Shamar (shamar@imancentral.org) or Sara (sara@imancentral.org).