“…But this time I got here (to IMAN). And I got to see what community organizing looks like; I got to see what engaged commitment to our children looks like; I got to see what a realized dream of freedom and justice and equality and self-determination for our people in this nation looks like. I was inspired! And I was reminded that our work is unfinished but (that) our work is ultimately finish-able.”
– Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, IMAN Annual Fundraising Dinner speech, December 2018
I heard Marc Lamont Hill speak these words in a powerful moment last December while emceeing IMAN’s Annual Fundraising Dinner. His observations on our work struck me as resonant with rich Malcolm-esqe insights. Marc himself was delivering these words only hours after CNN publicly parted with him because some chose to manipulate his words about the plight of the Palestinian people at the United Nations. Finally, to add to the richness of that moment, Marc delivered his speech for IMAN in a room at the South Shore Cultural Center named after Paul Robeson—a celebrated and persecuted black activist and intellectual—just minutes after Maryum Ali—the daughter of Muhammad Ali—delivered her powerful testimony about the intersectionality of IMAN’s work and her fathers legacy.
Over the weekend, people across the country reflected on Malcolm’s ongoing legacy on what would’ve been his 94th birthday. I saw beautiful posts on social media and heard stirring reflections. Yet, beyond all the great meditations on his legacy there is no American Muslim organization that I know of that has been able to translate Malcolm‘s unapologetic commitment to improving the lives, conditions and opportunities of our communities in urban America like IMAN. It’s why I’ve dedicated this portion of my life to leading IMAN’s work in Atlanta, which over the weekend broke fast with the community at a Green ReEntry development project built by the type of brothers Malcolm would’ve had his arms around today, celebrating them the way we celebrate them at IMAN.
As we enter the last two weeks of Ramadan, please contribute generously to our One Link, One Chain: 2019 Ramadan Drive. Your support is a critical link in this chain and ensures that we can continue to unapologetically place our arms around those so often left out of the conversation, and celebrate them in a way that lifts up the possibility and promise of what we can and will, God willing, accomplish together through this work.
Director of IMAN Atlanta
Along the way toward transforming its first construction project into what will be IMAN ATL’s new headquarters, the Atlanta Green ReEntry cohort enriched their program experience through career development workshops and weekly gatherings dedicated to spiritual nourishment.
In keeping with Green ReEntry’s core values of financial stability and empowerment, the cohort attended trainings at Tarchitects LLC, an established architecture firm in the heart of Atlanta. The brothers participated in daylong sessions focused on the ins and outs of project management, learning best practices regarding budgeting, proposal developments and collaboration strategies.
This past year’s long days of work and study were balanced with weekly gatherings geared toward spiritual growth. Following Saturday morning prayers, the Green ReEntry brothers joined fellow community members to reflect upon reminders of the importance of embodying genuine, noble character traits. Breakfast and continued conversation follow each weekend’s sitting.
On May 21, IMAN staff, Advisory Board members, and supporters from the larger Atlanta community gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of this first Green ReEntry cohort as they graduated from the program. Their hard work has laid a sturdy foundation for future participants returning home to beautify their communities and realize success in their individual lives.
Be sure to follow IMAN Atlanta on Facebook for the latest news and updates, and keep the entire Green ReEntry cohort in your prayers as they continue to change, serve and inspire!
IMAN Atlanta has been extremely active as it continues to carve out its place in the larger metro area. The Atlanta Green ReEntry cohort broke ground on its first renovation project along with dozens of local volunteers. In addition to launching the reentry work, IMAN ATL staff and leaders played key roles in several interfaith efforts that successfully highlighted the importance of health, wellness and healing in an inner-city context.
IMAN Atlanta played a key organizing role during a well-attended rally held in downtown Atlanta. Alongside allies from Redeemer Lutheran Church and other organizations, they called on residents to band together in support of groups targeted by proposed federal policies.
In conjunction with the Interfaith Children’s Movement, IMAN Atlanta staff and leaders also traveled to the state capitol for an important Advocacy Day. They pushed local legislators on several critical issues affecting the state’s youth, from increased job opportunities to more equitable, accessible public services for young people of all backgrounds.
On February 25, Director Mansoor Sabree and Atlanta Green ReEntry Coordinator Jermaine Shareef organized a “Hands On” community event, which served as a public groundbreaking for the IMAN ATL team’s first renovation project. Nearly 50 community members joined the first-ever Atlanta re-entry crew for a tour of the new property. After the tour, many attendees also rolled up their sleeves and chipped in to help beautify IMAN ATL’s soon-to-be headquarters.
IMAN Atlanta continues to establish itself as a vehicle for Georgia residents to engage the issues most directly affecting them. Be sure to follow IMAN ATL on Facebook to support their work, and for all the latest news and updates.
IMAN Atlanta is primed to launch its first direct service as 2017 gets underway. After months of preparation, fundraising, securing community partnerships and acquiring property, Green ReEntry will soon begin working with formerly incarcerated Muslim men in the ATL Metro Area. Participants will enter IMAN’s unique and holistic regiment of transitional housing, spiritual development, basic education, life skills instruction, on-the-job construction training, and job placement support.
One of the newest additions to the IMAN team is Atlanta Green ReEntry Manager Jermaine Shareef, a licensed master plumber. Shareef embodies the model of transformation that the program seeks to replicate. As a young man, he was incarcerated for 9 years. While inside, Shareef was recognized as a model inmate: he dedicated his time to both self-help and helping others, took full advantage of his time, and earned various plumbing certifications.
Shareef also owns his own plumbing company, Najee Plumbing, which is widely respected in the state of Georgia. No stranger to the IMAN ethos of relationship-building, he has also organized as a criminal justice reform advocate and a committed mentor to other men returning home from prison. Be sure to stay updated on the latest Green ReEntry progress and all IMAN Atlanta projects by following them on Facebook.