IMAN In the Media: Conversation, Impact, Change

Over the last few weeks, IMAN’s staff, leadership and work were featured prominently in news stories and interviews on well-known national media outlets such as American Public Media, National Public Radio (NPR), The Washington Post, Colorlines, and HuffPost Live. We are always excited and thankful for such high profile coverage and reporting of our work, only because it represents unique opportunities for bringing the communities we work with, and the issues we work on, to the center of  the nation’s public conversation and imagination.

In the last week of January, Executive Director Rami Nashashibi was Krista Tippett’s guest on her hour-long weekly program, On Being.  A Public Radio program on religion and spirituality, On Being is heard on NPR stations across the country.

In February, Nashashibi was interviewed by NPR’s Jacki Lyden for a segment, titled From The Inner City: Leading A New Generation Of Muslim Americans, on the popular news program All Things Considered.

Youth Director, Shamar Hemphill, was featured on a panel discussion on HuffPost Live, titled Booze N The Hood, about the presence of liquor stores, and their possible connection to violence, in poor communities of color. This was in recognition of the related work that IMAN has been doing on the ground with its Muslim Run campaign over the last few years.

Security Officer, Bilaal Evans, was featured in a story, titled Dispatch from Chicago: Stop the Violence…But How?, by Jamilah King in Colorlines magazine.  The story takes a deeper and nuanced look at urban violence, its causes and possible solutions.  Evans’ story is portrayed as representative of those who “aren’t just working to stop conflicts, but also trying to change people’s norms and behaviors in the process by showing that there are alternatives to violence.”

Finally, IMAN, its work, and its model of civic and social engagement were at the center of a story, titled Chicago is ground zero in U.S. Muslim renaissance, by Monique Parsons in The Washington Post.  It presents IMAN’s work, such as the free health clinic, at the vanguard of a serious commitment by sections of American Muslims to live their faith through service to their communities.

We would like to thank all these media organizations and individual journalists – Krista Tippett, Jacki Lyden, Jamilah King, and Monique Parsons – for bringing IMAN, our work and the communities we serve to national attention.  We sincerely hope that such attention can lead to greater conversation, increasing impact and, finally, positive change in the lived reality of our communities.

Living Legacies: From Malcolm To Mali

IMAN celebrated Black History Month by hosting a series of special events from February 21 to 24, in partnership with key organizational allies. To kick things off Thursday night, we hosted an event titled, Malcolm X: Standing With Peace, at IMAN’s Youth & Arts Wellness Center, across the street from IMAN’s offices on 63rd Street. It generated lively discussion and artistic expression, and highlighted the need to inspire and restore hope to the community. Attendees ranged from community residents to youth, IMAN leaders, and artists. The event was a great success and offered an inspiring beginning to an action-packed weekend of powerful events.

Friday night brought a jam-packed performance by Viex Farka Touré, regarded as one of Africa’s most exciting and inspirational new artistic voices, at the Old Town School of Folk Music. In addition to the amazing live performance, that fused the traditional with the modern, by Farka Touré, the program was also devoted to raising awareness of the recent humanitarian and political crisis in Mali, his home country. As IMAN continues to be a convener of Muslim artists and strives to connect global issues with local issues, we work to support peace both domestically and abroad.

Saturday morning saw us at Masjid Al Farooq, as IMAN alongside the Zakat Foundation hosted a panel discussion with Viex Farka Touré, entitled Mali On Our Minds. The discussion was hosted by Tahir Abdullah, Assistant Director of Spiritual Life & Advisor for Muslim Affairs at the University of Chicago. This event was an opportunity to discuss the events that recently took place in Mali and West Africa from a personal, political, cultural and historical perspective. Mali has long held a legendary status as the birthplace and center of great spiritual and intellectual achievement, through the great center of Timbuktu.

The long weekend of special events ended with A Shared Memory, a tribute to the late great Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, held again at the IMAN’s Youth & Arts Wellness Center. This beautiful event was devoted to celebrating and preserving the memories and impact of the late Imam W.D. Mohammed on hundreds of thousands people across the country and world.

In marking the historic and contemporary significance of African intellectual and artistic contributions, along with Malcolm X’s and Imam W.D. Mohammed’s legacy of peace, love and communal transformation, all these special events were a great reminder of what we aspire toward in order to rejuvenate our neighborhoods across the city.

Health Clinic: More Milestones

In response to the lack of access to healthcare on the South Side of Chicago, IMAN’s Health Clinic began as a grassroots clinic providing health screenings two days a week. With prioritization and planning within the organization, and generous support of community partnerships, IMAN’s Clinic has become its most rapidly growing program.  Over the last four years, IMAN’s Clinic has transitioned from a basic, grassroots clinic into a comprehensive health center that operates five days a week: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. In 2010, Dr. Altaf Kaiseruddin, MD, became the Clinic’s first Medical Director and paid staff physician, a goal that the Clinic had established since its beginning. In 2012, IMAN’s Health Clinic served 834 unduplicated patients through 3,127 visits.

A group of volunteer physicians and allied professionals, who provide their time and commitment to the Clinic, have been central to our growth and success. Dr. Sarah Ahmed, an emergency room physician, and Dr. Haque, a specialist in pain medicine and rehabilitation, are two volunteer physicians who have joined our Clinic’s team of physicians. Dr. Haque provides acupuncture services. Two other memebers of the team are Dr. Deeba Masood, who provides focused asthma visits, and Sarah Syed, who has been providing free on-site ultrasound services to our Clinic.  A new team member, Dr. Ibrahim Mansoor, is expected to join the Clinic soon!

IMAN’s Health Clinic has a commitment to community education and the Clinic staff is committed to the development of young professionals in healthcare. Through partnerships with local allied health centers, such as Everest College and Elam Institute, the Clinic has become an externship training site for medical assistants and medical administrative assistants, who are under the guidance of Dr. Adiba Khan, MD.  Third- and fourth-year medical students are exposed to primary care and the challenges of caring for the indigent patient population, as they work with our medical director, Dr. Kaiseruddin. Fransisco Lorozonio, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) counselor, oversees graduate social work students from the University of Chicago, and introduces them to the complexities of mental health issues in a primary care setting.

The Health Clinic is looking forward and preparing to experience exponential growth and development in 2013, as it continues on its trajectory to becoming a free-standing health center that provides a full complement of health services to address the needs of Chicago’s South Side. Please look for more exciting announcements related to the Health Clinic in our upcoming editions!