This past Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, local families, activists and elected officials came together for IMAN’s annual MLK Commemorative Luncheon.
Volunteers of all ages spent the afternoon serving catered meals to community residents while 16th Ward Alderwoman Toni Foulkes and 17th Ward Alderman David Moore shared reflections on the legacy of Dr. King’s work in Chicago. After enjoying good food and great company, guests were given a special tour of the site where the historic Martin Luther King Jr. Living Memorial is being constructed.
Several of Chicago’s major media outlets—including CBS, NBC, ABC and the Chicago Tribune—also visited the Memorial workspace. Reporters interviewed IMAN staff and leaders who are playing pivotal roles in the development of the Memorial, as well as artists from the Chicago Public Art Group while they were working to refine the Memorial’s design.
The MLK Living Memorial is a monumental, collaborative effort towards enshrining a crucial moment in this city’s history: Dr. King’s participation in the Chicago Fair Housing Movement. While recognizing the historic importance of that campaign—which led to the historic 1966 Marquette Park March—the project will also energize and inspire communities across the city and country to remember King’s message and continue to work for genuine social justice.
The Memorial will be unveiled as a part of IMAN’s special Takin’ It to the Streets Festival & Summit on August 6, 2016. For more information about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial, stay connected to the official project website: www.mlkmemorialchicago.org
50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. organized Chicagoans to respond to what he called “the fierce urgency of now”.
Join IMAN at the Harold Washington Cultural Center for CommUNITY Café: The Fiercest Urgency, an artistic journey through the fierce spiritual and social urgencies of our day, with dynamic performances from Brother Ali, Mick Jenkins, Rhymefest and more!
6:00 PM | Social (with sounds by DJ Maryam)
7:00 PM | Show
Rhythmic poetry and inspired lyrics emanated from IMAN’s Youth & Arts Wellness Center as the return year of Fresh Expressions, a grassroots, creative safe space, came to a close. After dining on healthy snacks and veggie pizza, talented young artists from every side of Chicago meshed social awareness with oratory flair during the open mic session. Performers hailed from Gage Park High School, the Kuumba Lynx collective, and even IMAN’s core group of leaders.
IMAN Arts Council member Amirah Sackett then took the stage with her unique blend of artistic education and expression. Sackett shared her story of self-discovery, a journey through which she has found ways to embrace both her love of Islam and hip-hop. After a “locking” dance demonstration, she spoke about her group “We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic” and fielded questions from the audience.
Community engagement and active dialogue is a crucial component of Fresh Expressions, and this month’s theme was “In Your Feelings”. Guests broke off into groups to discuss Emotional Intelligence in the context of real-life situations. Multigenerational, multiethnic connections are a hallmark of the Fresh Expressions experience, and the passion and wisdom contributed by those in attendance served as powerful reminders of the necessity of this space.
As the year draws to a close, we look forward to the continued growth and solidification of the Fresh Expressions model. Few other places in the city of Chicago offer such a vibrant, youth-led environment for community members of all ages to express themselves and learn from one another. Thank you to all the leaders and volunteers who helped to make this year a success.
Internationally acclaimed artists Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa, along with Fareed Ayaz, Abu Muhammad, Qawwal & Brothers hit the stage at yet another exciting CommUNITY Café: World Music Festival. Each group enlivened the audience with vibrant, interactive performances. Attendees were also welcome to meet and greet with each artist after they left the stage. The event, held at the beautiful new Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts kicked off with a special reception featuring DJ Bornswift and live painting by artist David Anthony Geary. Guests of all ages struck their best poses at the photo booth.
The following day, at the Fresh Beats & Eats Farmers’ Market, Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa led a jam session and drum circle, encouraging market-goers to participate.
The performances were part of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art Residency Program, which partners with DCASE, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Old Town School of Folk Music and our community partner The Pakistan Club @ the University of Chicago. Many thanks to all those in attendance, especially the amazing volunteers who helped make CommUNITY Café a success. A special shout out to the bright, young leaders from BuildOn who played a vital role in all aspects of the event!
The next CommUNITY Café will be held on October 24, 2015 at the Harold Washington Cultural Center in Bronzeville. Doors open at 6pm, Show begins at 7pm. Stay tuned for more!