We would like to extend another Blessed Ramadan to you all. During Ramadan 2013, we are focused on the spiritual commitment that inspired an earlier legacy of sacrifice and struggle to address the historical disconnect and neglect of urban communities across America. For us, that Legacy Continues as we devote our staff’s time during these summer months to addressing issues and implementing programs critical to the communities we serve, and by trying to harness the spiritual and social blessings of the month to deepen all our efforts. If you are in the Chicagoland, please consider joining us for one or more of these special activities taking place during Ramadan:
Regular activities during Ramadan:
- Ramadan Reflections: Every Wednesday during Ramadan from 6 to 8:15 PM, IMAN’s Scholar-in-Residence, Ubaydullah Evans, will be leading an interactive class and discussion at IMAN on the spiritual & social dimensions of this blessed month. Each class will be followed immediately by a healthy iftar–breaking of the fast–supplied by a local purveyor of healthy foods.
- Ramadan Refresh the ‘Hood Challenge: IMAN is partnering with the Lupe Fiasco Foundation on the Ramadan Refresh the ‘Hood Challenge, a month-long effort to bring subsidized fresh produce to our Muslim Run partner stores every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00 to 7:30 PM. This Challenge is part of IMAN’s Muslim Run campaign dealing with race relations and access to fresh and wholesome food in the inner-city.
One-time activities during Ramadan:
- Jum’ah Service: Usama Canon, from Ta’leef Collective, will be delivering the khutbah and leading jum’ah prayers at IMAN on Friday, July 19 during Ramadan at 1:15 PM. Join us that day for a spiritually inspiring and socially relevant discourse.
Please visit IMAN’s website, follow us on Twitter and connect with us on Facebook for regular updates related to all our Ramadan activities.
The IMAN Health Clinic, which began as a response to the lack of access to healthcare on the South Side of Chicago, has made a commitment to community education, allowing the clinic to serve as a site for the mutually beneficial presence and development of young professionals in health care. In fact, Medical students have always played a central role in the Clinic, from helping to found the clinic to the recently increased involvement of and strategic partnership with medical students from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine.
Two things happened earlier this year to crystallize this partnership: (1) the formation of a group of medical student called IMAN at Pritzker and (2) the addition of the IMAN Health Clinic to the Pritzker Free Clinic family, a network that allows Pritzker medical students to continue their rich tradition of service-based learning and service to the community.
“The IMAN Clinic offered a unique and fulfilling opportunity to not only practice service-based learning but to also serve Chicago’s most diverse patient population lacking access to healthcare, right here on the Southwest Side,” says Omar Ahmed. He and Caroline Thomas, both medical students at Prtizker, are cofounders of the IMAN at Pritzker group. Ahmad is very excited that the group was able to come together and realize the opportunity that this partnership with the IMAN Clinic represented. For IMAN, this partnership allows the Clinic to maintain more hours and lay the foundation for student involvement from other medical schools.
For example, Medical Assistant students from Everest College now form an integral part of the team helping patients into and through the health care program at the Clinic. Also, graduate-level social work students from University of Chicago’s Social Service Administration program are part of the core of IMAN’s Behavioral Health services which address a glaring need in the local community. These programs help IMAN maintain its cutting edge on two new fronts: service-based learning and inter-professional training.
IMAN believes in creating safe, empowering, spiritually nurturing, and fun spaces to help grow and develop young people into community leaders. Digital Media Masters, part of youth programming at IMAN, creates one such space that also bridges the digital divide often found in low-income neighborhoods. The program empowers students to create and distribute digital media through the Internet using the latest tools, techniques and open-source software. Such skills will be highly useful in allowing communities to create their own streams of income as well as imparting marketable job skills for further career development.
An important part of the current session of Digital Media Masters, which started on July 8, is that funding for it has come from a recent and critical policy win supported by The United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations (UCCRO) and led by UCCRO member organizations Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) and Albany Park Neighborhood Council (APNC). As a founding member of UCCRO, IMAN was supporting the ongoing work of the LYFE Coalition to pass a Youth Employment Funding bill and win $14 million in the Governor’s budget for summer youth jobs that will employ tens of thousands of youth this summer—hopefully reducing violence while providing crucial skills and opportunities to youth.
As a grassroots organization fighting for social justice in some of the most challenging neighborhoods in Chicago, IMAN believes in the importance of striving to fix the systemic issues that help to marginalize low-income communities of color. One of the major mechanisms by which IMAN attempts to affect policy change is as a member organization of UCCRO. United Congress is a grassroots-led multiethnic human rights alliance mobilizing people, policy and ideals for the equitable advancement of marginalized communities, and IMAN is one of its founding organizations.
The Youth Employment Funding bill, and programs such as Digital Media Masters that have resulted from it, is a major example of how IMAN and UCCRO are, together, building power across Black, Latino, Asian and Arab communities, in order to improve the lived experience of these communities.