By now, most of us have been inundated by the emails, text messages, and Twitter threads that have attempted to put us all on alert about the pandemic coronavirus, COVID-19. As we join our local elected officials and health departments in encouraging people to take CDC guidelines seriously during this time, we also acknowledge the vast disparities between communities that crises like these never fail to make apparent.
The one thing grassroots organizations like IMAN know is that moments like these are always stark reminders that the work we do to heal, nurture, inspire, and to bring our communities together to confront injustice, is that much more critical in these times. Mandated calls to socially distance our most vulnerable people from the individuals and institutions they rely on for their health and wellness stands to further deteriorate the already anemic social fabric in communities like the ones IMAN organizes in Chicago and Atlanta. In response, IMAN staff, leaders, and community members are doing what they do best: fighting the fear and isolation these new conditions may cause people and finding creative new ways to continue to engage and connect with the people who rely on this organization.
While we, like most other institutions, have temporarily halted all public programs and gatherings, we are putting in place targeted ways to keep our communities connected:
Organizers are conducting regular check-in calls with leaders and community members;
Health Center staff is converting most in-person visits to tele-health encounters;
We are working with our community of artists to develop creative virtual opportunities both to inspire and help people cope with their circumstances but also to commission meaningful artistic performances and engagements;
Our Green ReEntry cohort is working remotely, with virtual check-ins and engagement opportunities;
Care packages are being constructed and will be delivered to our local senior living facilities, IMAN leadership homes, and community members;
IMAN’s street outreach team is still working to keep peace on the blocks throughout our neighborhoods in a time of even more heightened anxiety and tension;
And we are constantly devising ways to bring our various communities in closer proximity to each other’s experiences, especially as we edge closer to Ramadan.
Institutions like IMAN were built for these very moments—but even so, the ability to strengthen and continue this work amid the onslaught of new challenges and roadblocks relies on the continual prayers and support of each and every one of you. We simply cannot do this work without you. Stay tuned for ways that you can continue to support us in this moment and help us stay connected, even in a time of social distancing.
The community needs our support now more than ever! Please consider making a financial donation or if you would like to donate items email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace and Blessings,
IMAN Staff & Board