IMAN Recognized as a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike

We are pleased to announce that IMAN’s Health Center has been officially designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike! The rigorous effort toward obtaining such a significant status has been nearly a decade in the making. With your support and the hard work of our dedicated staff, IMAN’s Health Center has demonstrated the compassion and high-quality care for patients that impressed federal government evaluators. Health Center Look- Alikes provide services consistent with federally qualified health centers, ensuring health care for all, regardless of ability to pay.

Over the past two decades, IMAN has expanded its medical service to include counseling and dentistry. Now, we are being recognized by the federal government for the community-responsiveness and quality of the entire health program. Such recognition means we’ll have access to additional training and expertise through state and national agencies. Additionally we will become part of Chicago’s larger health safety net able to serve more patients and expand pharmaceutical, dental and mental health services.

FQHC Look-Alikes were established to increase access to quality care in underserved communities by allowing providers like IMAN, that do not receive a federal grant, to participate in the federal program. As an FQHC Look-Alike, IMAN is eligible for increased Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements. However, those reimbursements do not cover uninsured individuals, who make up nearly 50% of our patient population.

This designation is a powerful affirmation of our Health Center’s quality and growth. It is also a resounding call to action, as we continue to raise the funds necessary to fully cover the costs of uninsured patient care, fostering health, wellness and healing for thousands more individuals across the inner-city.

This exciting milestone would not be possible without your prayers and generosity, and we are immensely grateful for the long-standing support of many individuals and families, and of several foundations over the years, including, Islamic Relief USA, Chicago Community Trust and Affiliates, Grant Healthcare Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, VNA Foundation, Field Foundation, Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Healthy Communities Foundation, The Crown Family, Polk Bros Foundation, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, and Zakat Foundation of America.

Path to Restoration Bill Pushes Ahead

On April 11, dozens of IMAN leaders and Green ReEntry brothers traveled to Springfield in a demonstration of solidarity and advocacy for issues that are impacting our communities.

The group joined hundreds at the State Capitol for 2018 Illinois Muslim Action Day, organized by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), to meet with legislators and discuss the Path to Restoration Bill (SB 3489), among other policies and Illinois legislation.

Organizing leaders and Green ReEntry brothers talked with state senators while advocating for criminal justice reform including the Path to Restoration Bill, which proposes several amendments promoting transparency within the Illinois registry system tracking individuals convicted of violent crimes against minors. The bill passed out of the Criminal Law Committee 7-2 on April 10th, the evening before the Action Day.

The momentum from the passage of the bill continued through negotiations with the State’s Attorney’s office, whose full support was needed in order to help move the bill along. After gaining the much needed support of the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Department of State Police, Staff Attorney Aaron Siebert-Llera returned to Springfield to testify again in front of the Criminal Law Committee where SB 3489 passed out of the committee 9-0. The bill has since passed out of the Illinois Senate 50-0 and moved to the House during the last week of April.

State Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), who is the primary House Sponsor, completed the first reading and the bill has been assigned to the Rules Committee. The Path to Restoration now must make it out of committee and through two additional readings before being voted on by the full House. The hard work of our organizers and leaders coming to the table has produced satisfactory amendments, making SB 3489 a viable bill and one that has the support of Democrats and Republicans. Passage of the Path to Restoration bill is one of the first steps in our long range vision of broader criminal justice reform and an exciting component of our quickly increasing legal work here at IMAN.

Atlanta Green ReEntry Cohort Graduates

We are proud to announce our Spring 2018 graduates from the Green ReEntry program in Atlanta! These men began the journey as strangers this past January, and finished together as brothers.

The group of ten, led by Green ReEntry Manager Jermaine Shareef and Case Worker Arthur Majid, worked tirelessly to complete a 12-week, intensive vocational training course in plumbing, and to achieve personal and spiritual growth. The Green ReEntry brothers were surrounded by love and support from community members and loved ones who attended the graduation, as they received special recognition for their accomplishments during the uplifting and moving ceremony, which was held in Atlanta on April 21st.

Among those celebrating these extraordinary men was AJ Sabree, former Director of Reentry Services for the Georgia Department of Corrections. He reflected on how essential reentry programs are to communities like the West End area in which IMAN Atlanta operates, and the importance of providing resources necessary to confront the lingering challenges of mass incarceration.

Now that they have reached this milestone, these brothers are ready to apply both their job and life skills as they transition back into the community. They are focused on securing gainful employment and housing, and are seeking to rebuild connections with their families while remaining involved with IMAN’s work.

CommUNITY Café Caps 1st Sacred Cypher Residency

IMAN hosted its first Sacred Cypher residency featuring longtime arts leader Liza Garza, an Emmy-nominated artist, activist, healer and poet. Liza’s work is rooted in her passion for love and oneness, and powered by transformative, intentional listening. Her residency, entitled “Story Cyphers”, used a unique methodology called “story circles”, which originated as a tool used in the Civil Rights movement to create space for people of different races to address and overcome differences.

The residency week began with Liza facilitating a series of story circles in collaboration with IMAN’s Green ReEntry program participants and members of the Behavioral health team where stewardship ultimately will be passed to the participants who will then bring the process into the community by hosting their own story circles. Tuesday evening, attendees of IMAN’s weekly Power Hour were moved by the performance that Liza and her son, Eli Lakes, gave. Wednesday evening, Liza performed at IMAN’s MLK commemoration ceremony at the Marquette Park Field house. Thursday was a powerful moment filled with meaningful conversations and a surprise guest, Chicago rapper, Common. Friday, members of the IMAN community and local artists, joined Liza for a post jummah spiritual cypher session.

This residency coincided with IMAN’s Only Light, Only Love week which also included the Illuminating Love Ceramic Workshop on Monday. This workshop allowed for a diverse and intergenerational group of Chicago community members to shine light via creating an oil burner.

Liza’s residency and Only Light, Only Love week culminated with CommUNITY Café. CommUNITY Café is a live performance experience designed to connect, inspire and organize diverse communities to action. Over 450 community members, friends, families and supporters joined us for a successful night filled with culture, art, light and love. This night was Co-MCed by Chicago Beyond CEO Liz Dozier and Liza Garza. It was filled by an extraordinary lineup which included performances by: Oddisee, Sa-Roc, IMAN Roster Artists: Drea d’Nur, Liza Garza, Eli Lakes, and the band Surabhi featuring Massamba Diop. During the “Café Hour” audiences were invited to engage IMAN’s ongoing community wellness work, support local businesses and artisans, share food, and connect over artistic activities lead by renowned Chicago artists, Lavie Raven and Liz Lazdins.

Coming up: IMAN’s arts and culture department is just getting started with ceramic classes, live performance engagement at corner stores, community cafes, and artist residencies. Our next residency features visual artist, Kelly Izdihar Crosby from June 7th through the 13th. If you are interested in getting more intimately involved with IMAN’s arts work, please email arts@imancentral.org.