IMAN Atlanta: One Year In

Mansoor BluffOne year ago, IMAN took a major step forward in expanding its model of inner-city health, wellness and healing. With full organizational support, a roster of dedicated leaders and the vision of Imam Mansoor Sabree shoring up the Regional Director position, the IMAN Atlanta Project has made remarkable strides.

Click here to read the Muslim Journal’s new feature article on Imam Mansoor, who is currently in Lisbon, Portugal taking part in the Concordia Forum, and the larger IMAN Atlanta effort.

Stay tuned for an exciting IMAN Atlanta announcement coming very soon, and please continue to keep IMAN Atlanta in your thoughts and prayers.

#NoDAPL and the UCCRO Convention

As IMAN prepares for this weekend’s annual United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations (UCCRO) convention, we reflect on the power of this decade-old alliance that was established to unite communities of color, organize and advocate for a grassroots human rights agenda. From the beginning, UCCRO sought to connect the stories of collective experiences, and from the beginning the stories of our First Nations brothers and sisters played a critical role in that effort.

NoDAPLEarlier this year, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard and other members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe began organizing to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which would pump 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day from North Dakota all the way to Illinois. If built, DAPL would cut through land held sacred by the Standing Rock Sioux and risk contaminating the drinking water of the tribe and other communities along the pipeline. The #NoDAPL movement has inspired solidarity in the hearts of millions across the world who support the Standing Rock Sioux as they safeguard their ancestral land.

IMAN stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and all communities asserting themselves through organizing and alliance-building to address systemic racial and environmental injustices.

Today, on Indigenous Peoples Day, we pause to reflect and honor the histories of native communities across North America. As we continue to support the #NoDAPL movement, we also encourage you to support in the following ways:

  • Share information about #NoDAPL with your networks
  • Click here to connect and get involved with IMAN’s grassroots organizing efforts
  • Support MuslimARC’s campaign to raise funds for the Standing Rock Sioux
  • Solidarity in the Hood

    America continues to witness men and women of color being gunned down in the streets by law enforcement. Whether tending to a stalled vehicle or simply reading inside their car before picking up children from school, these victims are treated as stereotypes rather than as human beings. As a Black father, husband, and Muslim living on Chicago’s South Side, I know firsthand the unfortunate realities of police officers’ implicit biases. Those biases are compounded by the structural racism and discrimination, devastating community disinvestment, failing schools, and economic despair. This is why I organize at IMAN. The issue is bigger than improved policing. The job at hand is to rebuild broken neighborhoods and uplift our fellow community members whose lived experiences are burdened by hopelessness and desperation.

    13988248_1398315450194885_988699636317583685_oI believe Muslims have a critical role to play in helping to strengthen institutions like IMAN and support our inner cities in the struggle for equity and justice. It is easy to become frustrated by the seemingly endless news of gun violence in Chicago and police brutality nationwide, but constructively engaging with community organizations can channel that frustration into meaningful action and, God willing, lasting improvements.

    IMAN continues to tackle crucial issues with campaigns focused on criminal justice reform that counters the criminalization of black and brown communities. Just this year, our organizers succeeded in getting the Removing Invisible Bars Act passed, a significant step forward in Illinois’ parole reform efforts. As the U.S. Muslim community asserts its rightful place in the American experience, we cannot lose sight of the need to make relevant impact on the people we live with and in the spaces we navigate. One path to relevance is through maintaining real solidarity in the ‘hood, and IMAN’s Corner Store Campaign has provided a vehicle to do just that for years now. Utilizing our resources in expertise to help restore viable job opportunities, holistic health improvements and harmonious interpersonal relationships promises to be a fruitful investment.

    The real work begins when we are able to see our stories and ourselves in others; then we can truly want for our brothers and sisters that which we want for ourselves. That’s how lasting solidarity is built, and there is no better time to start this journey than right now.

    Shamar Hemphill
    IMAN Director of Organizing

    Food Justice and Englewood’s New Whole Foods

    The arrival of Whole Foods Market was met with great anticipation from our leaders and allies in the Greater Englewood area. For years, IMAN and partner organizations have tackled food access issues on the South Side of Chicago with a holistic approach: by holding larger corporations more accountable to the local community needs, increasing the availability of fresh and healthy foods, expanding nutrition education resources, and serving as an incubator for local entrepreneurship.

    screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-10-46-51-pmIMAN has long worked to revitalize food ecosystems in Englewood and other South Side communities through its Corner Store Campaign, which currently engages over 60 stores. As an organization deeply rooted in this community, IMAN understands that fostering alternative business models requires strong connections between food access, corner store intervention, urban agriculture, and public safety.

    “IMAN has always seen our food access work as intersectional,” says Dr. Rami Nashashibi. “We recognize that issues of food justice are closely related to the violence and trauma that we see in our communities. In order for an entity like Whole Foods to be successful in Englewood, it is crucial for it to be rooted firmly in the local community, support the existing work of community groups, and ultimately help to strengthen the local food ecosystem.”

    For more information on how IMAN food justice organizers plan to engage Whole Foods in the larger community-wide campaign to improve health and wellness in South Side communities, please contact Organizing Director Shamar Hemphill at