Last weekend, I had a chance to deliver the keynote at IMAN’s Annual Fundraising Dinner. Ten years ago, I was introduced to this dynamic organization as I addressed the crowd at 2005’s Takin’ it to the Streets. That was a truly transformative time for me. Shortly after Takin’ it to the Streets, I made Hajj and rediscovered some of the profound insights my father wrote about during his famous pilgrimage to Mecca almost half a century earlier.
One of my father’s enduring and visionary reflections concerned the role that Muslims and Islam must play in asserting themselves as a force for good and vehicle for healing in an America still suffering the wounds of racial disparity.
I was powerfully reminded last weekend of what first struck me about IMAN ten years ago. This past February, on the 50th anniversary of my father’s assassination, I wrote a piece in The New York Times entitled, “What Would Malcolm X Think,” in which I reflected on his life in light of the most pressing issues of our time. I can tell you with confidence that my father would have seen IMAN as an organization genuinely struggling to live up to his call for justice around many critical issues affecting low-income communities in our inner cities today.
I was informed that IMAN is only $75,000 away from meeting its larger year-end fundraising goal. Please consider making an additional donation and/or send this email to someone in your intimate circle, asking them to make their year-end donation to IMAN.
Ms. Ilyasah Al-Shabazz
Yesterday at dinner, I let my 10-year-old daughter read the CNN headline to her younger sister—Trump: No More Muslims. “Why would anyone say that?” my younger daughter asked, while I sat angrily listening to their attempts to make sense of this insanity.
It is difficult to witness two young girls try to rationalize vitriol and bigotry.
At this point, it is equally difficult to imagine how more press releases, public condemnations or heartfelt expressions of pain over the perversion of our faith will counter the growing number of Americans who consider Islam and Muslims to be in opposition with “American values.”
Now, more than ever, we must deeply invest in the efforts of organizations like IMAN nationwide. We must double down; we must organize; we must directly engage the issues that are profoundly affecting people every day in inner-city communities like those on Chicago’s South Side. We must continue to build genuinely rooted relationships across ethnic, racial and religious lines to fight for a better Chicago, America and world.
One day, I would like my daughters to see a CNN headline much different than the one they read yesterday. Perhaps “No More Denigrating Muslims” or “No More Dehumanizing Muslims.” This hope is not naive if, along with our brothers and sisters from different faiths, we continue to deepen, strengthen and scale up the work of organizations like IMAN.
You help us to live out this hope through our work, and we need to see you stand up for that work at IMAN’s Annual Fundraising Dinner this Saturday. We expect tickets to sell out in the next two days so I’m personally asking you to reach out to friends, family and colleagues to remind them to secure their seats now.