President Barack Obama visited the Islamic Center of Baltimore on February 3, his first visit to a mosque in the United States. Before addressing the congregation in Baltimore, and the nation at large, President Obama met privately with a dozen prominent Muslim Americans. Executive Director Rami Nashashibi was at the table, sharing updates and reflections about IMAN and highlighting Muslim Americans’ contributions to the betterment of society.
The following day at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., the President related another story that Rami had shared with him; a story about courage, faith and conviction. President Obama also mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s impact on Marquette Park, a legacy which, God wiling, will be enshrined this summer as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial.
Check out more from President Obama’s final National Prayer Breakfast below.
IMAN Green ReEntry Residence Coordinator Michael Nasir Blackwell works diligently to maintain a peaceful, safe environment for brothers to learn, earn and grow spiritually after their release from prison. He was shocked to find out that a parole technicality currently on the books in Illinois could put him at risk of being sent back to prison.
Nasir is currently serving a 3-year mandatory supervised release and, being on parole, he says that he legally “cannot associate with another ex-offender on parole without prior written permission from his parole agent.” Many other formerly incarcerated individuals who are fully committed to empowering themselves and their communities are suffering under this restrictive statute. For these brothers and sisters, returning to the streets to effect positive change could easily mean a return to prison.
Blackwell, other IMAN organizers and community activists, with their sights set on eliminating this technicality, have drafted SB 2282, or the Removing Invisible Bars Act. Officially read at the State Capitol in late-January, the Removing Invisible Bars Act proposes to protect individuals on parole from being rearrested for “associating with others on parole” while they are engaged in community organizing efforts. This bill stands to save our cash-strapped state millions of dollars by reducing the high numbers of parolees who are arrested due to technical violations; nearly 8,300 people were returned to prison in 2014 based on technicalities at a cost of over $185 million.
Organizers, leaders and allies will be working diligently to educate legislators about the bill in hopes of getting it passed this spring. Keep our efforts in your prayers and stay tuned for ways you can get involved with the Removing Invisible Bars Act.
Inner-City Muslim Action Network, (IMAN) is pleased to announce the IMAN Atlanta Project. This project comes after several years of working closely with leaders in Atlanta and successfully training local community organizers. The Atlanta team will serve under the leadership of Mansoor Sabree, who is IMAN’s first Regional Community Organizer.
In keeping with IMAN’s vision, the Atlanta team will work to “uphold the Muslim tradition of facilitating transformational change in urban communities, by inspiring others towards critical civic engagement and exemplifying prophetic compassion in the work for meaningful social justice and human dignity beyond the barriers of religion, ethnicity, and nationality.” IMAN Atlanta looks to expound upon the 18-year model of IMAN—”Change, Serve, Inspire”—within the Atlanta Community.
“It is clear to me that IMAN is dedicated to leading the prophetic model of serving others. I too share this vision, and I’m very excited to join the IMAN Team.” – Mansoor Sabree
IMAN Atlanta will host its very first CommUNITY Café in Atlanta on Saturday, March 19th.
For more information, contact:
This past Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, local families, activists and elected officials came together for IMAN’s annual MLK Commemorative Luncheon.
Volunteers of all ages spent the afternoon serving catered meals to community residents while 16th Ward Alderwoman Toni Foulkes and 17th Ward Alderman David Moore shared reflections on the legacy of Dr. King’s work in Chicago. After enjoying good food and great company, guests were given a special tour of the site where the historic Martin Luther King Jr. Living Memorial is being constructed.
Several of Chicago’s major media outlets—including CBS, NBC, ABC and the Chicago Tribune—also visited the Memorial workspace. Reporters interviewed IMAN staff and leaders who are playing pivotal roles in the development of the Memorial, as well as artists from the Chicago Public Art Group while they were working to refine the Memorial’s design.
The MLK Living Memorial is a monumental, collaborative effort towards enshrining a crucial moment in this city’s history: Dr. King’s participation in the Chicago Fair Housing Movement. While recognizing the historic importance of that campaign—which led to the historic 1966 Marquette Park March—the project will also energize and inspire communities across the city and country to remember King’s message and continue to work for genuine social justice.
The Memorial will be unveiled as a part of IMAN’s special Takin’ It to the Streets Festival & Summit on August 6, 2016. For more information about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial, stay connected to the official project website: www.mlkmemorialchicago.org