On Tuesday, October 18th, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin joined Marquette Park residents and local leaders for a day of healing-focused dialogue, celebration of new cultural landmarks and recognition of long-standing neighborhood institutions.
Sen. Durbin participated in a community conversation during which SWOP, IMAN and Sinai Health Systems representatives shared reflections and engaged him with calls to action around the pressing issues of trauma and violence in the area. The meeting was hosted inside of Holy Cross Hospital’s newly opened Behavioral Health Center, which offers both inpatient and outpatient treatment.
Following the community conversation, Sen. Durbin toured the MLK Living Memorial with IMAN staff and various members of the Local Task Force that helped make the memorial a success. After experiencing the MLK Living Memorial, Sen. Durbin then joined Local Task Force members for a celebration luncheon at historic Beth Shalom synagogue. Fifty years prior, the synagogue served as a safe house for organizers and protestors working to reshape the future of Marquette Park. Now, on that continued journey to justice, a dynamic, diverse collection of community leaders gathered in that same space in order to celebrate the collective successes and reflect on challenges left awaiting.
We thank Sen. Durbin for visiting, and thank all the members of the MLK Living Memorial Local Task Force for their tireless efforts in mobilizing the Marquette Park community behind this project.
One 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.
In response to the unconscionable attack on 71-year-old Fred Laguardia following Labor Day Weekend, IMAN helped mobilize a diverse group of religious and community leaders from the larger Marquette Park area to welcome home their beloved fellow citizen and pledge support to his family.
A community-organized press conference took place at 7045 South California Avenue, the site of Mr. Laguardia’s attack, during which family members and representatives from the larger community spoke passionately about the urgent need to stand together and stem the rising tide of violence in communities like Marquette Park, and other areas across the city.
Mr. Laguardia was mugged and shot by two assailants in the middle of the day on Tuesday, September 6th. The longtime Marquette Park resident was assaulted while tending to the lawn of a vacant property on the block. The attack occurred directly across from the park, a grim reminder of the work yet do be done to realize a more beloved community. “In the spirit of [Dr.] King, we want to make sure this is not just another community where acts of violence take place without people standing up,” IMAN ED Rami Nashashibi said. “The community is filled with people who work with one another, who are committed to have a peaceful neighborhood.”
Chicago anti-violence activist Andrew Holmes and his organization helped raise much of the $10,000 reward from groups and individuals across Chicago. The money will be used to encourage information leading to the arrest of Laguardia’s attackers. Other local institutions in support include: Beth Shalom Synagogue, Sisters of St.Casimir, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Holy Cross Hospital, Maria Catalyst School, Ephraim Bahar Community Center, Chicago Islamic Center, St. Rita of Cascia Parish and more.
Katie Marciniak got her start with us during last year’s Fresh Beats & Eats Farmers’ Market. Along with other leaders and staff, she ran organic produce stands and engaged residents around healthy eating habits. As a performer, planner and ambassador for Fresh Expressions—our grassroots, youth open mic program—Katie quickly became a mainstay at IMAN.
As a student at local Gage Park High School, Katie helped with extraordinary student research exploring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Chicago Freedom Movement’s 1966 march through Marquette Park. Moved by the discovery of such a profound moment in her own neighborhood, Katie has embraced a key role on the MLK Living Memorial Planning Committee, serving alongside high-level executives and public figures from across the Chicagoland area. In recognition of her achievements, Katie was on of two IMAN youth leaders publicly awarded by the Office of Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
This summer, Katie’s journey has taken even more exciting turns. She is currently enjoying the sweetness of her first Ramadan, and will soon take her talents to the prestigious Princeton University Summer Journalism Program.
With the help of your prayers and contributions, IMAN continues to be able to offer brilliant youth leaders like Katie an outlet to express their creativity, organize their communities, and continue to flourish in a truly holistic way. As this blessed month continues, we ask that you make your zakat-eligible, tax-deductible donation to our 2016 Ramadan Drive and help us reach our ambitious $500,000 goal. May the Most High continue to make us worthy of your support, and may your month be full of blessings and mercy.